Damian McErlain has hailed the impact of Mark Lynch and James Kielt after the duo emerged from the bench to help Derry to a first Division Three win of the season against Offaly.
The experienced duo have been used sparingly so far this season with one eye on the Ulster Championship but their second half influence was crucial to help steady a Derry ship that was rocking considerably at times against the Faithful County.
“Those guys are absolutely massive,” said McErlain after Sunday’s 1-15 to 0-13 win, “It’s good that they have the humility to understand the situation. A day like today with the heavy conditions wouldn’t particularly be the time for them to start but come the summer those boys will be pushing for a starting place and we will have the depth from the younger boys having got the experience they are getting.
“(Mark and James) are great to understand they are there to come in at the minute. They are ‘score’ men as well and always contribute a point or two each, as they did today.
“They are great lads to have about the set up in terms of their mentality, their experience and we are delighted to have them and delighted they are still putting their shoulder to the wheel.”
McErlain is hoping the influence of senior players like Lynch and Kielt will help a promising young squad as he builds for the future.
“Division Three is a hell of a league,” added McErlain, “I saw Colin Kelly and Kieran McGeeney talking about it and they have been in it for a few years, they understand it. There is not a hell of a difference between Division Three and Division Two to be quite honest. It is very competitive no matter who you are playing. Every week is a battle. You’re playing at county level so that’s to be expected. You are picking the best 15 players of any county, they all have their own qualities and you have to be on your game.
“If you are off the money in any game, you’re going to be exposed. Division Three is like that so it’s a great grounding for young players and there will be more of them coming in and more next year.
“We are still in February 2018. We are building slowly. Hopefully the weather will dry up a bit this week and we can get back out on to the pitch again a couple of times to get working at it so.
“That is the plan. We stick to the process, keep the faith, keep the head down and have faith in the set up we have and the players we have.”
Derry will be hoping to use Sunday’s win as a springboard when they travel to high flying Fermanagh this Saturday night.
“Every week has been busy and we know Fermanagh are going well, that’s three wins in a row now for them. They are well organised under Rory and they will know us well. They know our players and likewise we know theirs.
“It will be a real battle in Brewster Park. It is a long pitch, quite narrow which keeps things tight. It will be a real challenge but we can look forward now a bit more with two points on the board.”