DERRY GAA: McGuckin offers no excuses for poor Oak Leaf display

Derry assistant manager Brian McGuckin was in no mood to make excuses after his side's abject display in Sunday's eight point defeat by Down in Celtic Park

Sunday, 5th March 2017, 9:16 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:07 am
A dejected Carlus McWilliams of Derry after the Allianz Football League Division 2 Round 4 match between Derry and Down at Celtic Park.

The Oak Leafers went into the game on the back of a morale boosting, late minute victory over league leaders Kildare and a victory would have had put among the Division Two front runners but the game was as good as over after 20 minutes with Down leading 1-10 to no score.

Emmett McGuckin's first half goal did briefly raise the possibility of a comeback but the meek manner in which Derry accepted their fate left McGuckin bewildered.

"I am not going to stand here and make excuses," said McGuckin after the game, "I'm not going to make excuses for the players either. The players didn't do themselves justice. They didn't work as hard as they could work, they didn't put Down under the type of pressure the needed to.

"Down were getting easy shots away. Granted they kicked some spectacular scores in the first half but they also got some very easy scores. There had to be collective responsibility for that. What more can i say. we will dust ourselves down and go again.

"It is extremely disappointing and we are not making any excuses. We were simply beat by a better Down team."

The result leaves Derry second from bottom but the division remains incredibly tight although it was the manner of defeat more than the loss of two points which kept Damian Barton and his management team inside the Celtic Park dressing room for long after the final whistle.

"What is so disappointing for us is the way in which we were beaten today and they way we were beat down in Navan (against Meath) because that is certainly something we have to address to ensure it does not happen again," added McGuckin.

"There are players being thrown in the deep end due to the constraints we have with player availability but that is to make an excuse. The team we had out were more than capable of defeating Down. We just couldn't match Down's attitude to win or their endeavour. They got themselves into a position in the game after 20 minutes which just left us with far too much to do and they controlled periods of the second half.

"We were flat. We didn't do ourselves justice and our bigger players, who shone well against Kildare, didn't perform to the heights that they are capable of.

"It is deja vu in a way. We were beaten comprehensively by Meath but responded well and unfortunately it has happened again today. There is nothing else we can do other than go back to the training field and do everything in our power to improve which is what we intend to do."