Derry has been dealt another blow following Sunday’s Ulster Championship mauling against Tyrone after it emergedthat forward, Enda Lynn, is unlikely to feature again this season.
Oak Leaf manager Damian Barton confirmed the Greenlough player had suffered a setback in his recovery from the broken ankle he sustained in the McKenna Cup Final and was now facing a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
The loss of Lynn is a major source of frustration for the Derry boss although there was some positive news after it emerged that Sean Leo McGoldrick will be back for the Qualifiers.
“Well, we come back to the McKenna Cup debacle again but we are a long way off that (type of) performance because we had players like Enda who can run at people and makes things happen,” explained Barton. “They get off the shoulder and bring people into the game. Those players are priceless.
“It is quite unfortunate for Enda because he has found out he has a recurring crack. We found out last week so that puts us back again in terms of his rehab so when it rains, it pours.”
The news capped a miserable day for Derry football with Barton admitting they had been totally outclassed by Tyrone and were lacking a player, like Lynn, who can produce something out of nothing.
“Whenever a game starts going away from you - having been there before myself - it is very difficult to retrieve. It takes an exceptional incident, someone with a spark of magic; someone to create a goal and we couldn’t do that.
“We had a couple of chances at the start of the second half but we were quite lame at trying to put them away.
“We needed that and didn’t have it. We needed a spark to ignite us, not least in the first half, but we didn’t have that spark.
“We expected to flood people through the middle third, to get beyond their first line of defence, to push in on the sweeper which is something I think you need to do rather than leave an extra man in there doing nothing.
“Whenever players go out onto a pitch sometimes you don’t know what they are going to do. Temperament has an awful lot to do with it but those players tried; they fought in the second half. We went down quite early to 14 men and they kept chipping away but really Tyrone were pulling up at that stage.”
Barton said he was disappointed with how comfortable the game was for Tyrone after a bright opening period from Derry.
“I think we made it easy,” he added. “We played across their half-back line and didn’t get beyond their first line of defence. We didn’t kick any ball in. We kicked the ball in once in the first half and it went over the sideline. We took a couple of shots from distance, from acute angles.
“We didn’t want to get inside and penetrate and you are not going to win games in terms of championship by grinding out ‘point’ results. You have to get inside. Goals are decisive. We didn’t do that. We’ll look at where we are and there are some people carrying injuries that will be back. That’s where we are it’s very much up to the boys to react now.”
Despite the disappointment, Barton said he was determined to move on and get a run through the Qualifiers.
“I said to the boys we have two competitions. We have the Ulster Championship and an All Ireland Series. What did we normally do over previous years? We don’t take the Qualifiers that seriously but in terms of development I think we have to move on.
“The first round draw is very important. The first victory in the Qualifiers is very important, otherwise the season is gone and you are really back to the drawing board.”