Derry minors face tricky trip to Cavan

Derry minor manager Paddy Campbell (centre, left) and his back room team talk to the squad after last week's dramatic win over Monaghan in Celtic Park.
Derry minor manager Paddy Campbell (centre, left) and his back room team talk to the squad after last week's dramatic win over Monaghan in Celtic Park.

Derry minor manager Paddy Campbell has called on the Oak Leaf support to get behind his young team as they continue their Ulster Championship quest tomorrow in O’Raghallaigh Park in Cavan.

The Oak Leaf minors produced a superb fightback last week to defeat Monaghan in one of the most exciting matches seen in Celtic Park for years and Campbell is hoping the Derry support can get behind his team.

“It would be great to see a travelling support get behind the team this weekend because it makes such a difference to young lads,” said the former Donegal fullback.

“The boys deserve great credit for digging deep on a couple of occasions and hopefully we will see the clubs and supporters get behind them even more after that result.”

Campbell’s team played Cavan as recently as three weeks ago in the Minor League and while he has a full squad at his disposal, the former Steelstown manager admitted a hectic schedule hasn’t helped preparations.

“The preparation has been far from ideal because we played Cavan in the league three weeks ago, then played Down in the Shield final and Mongahan last week, so that’s three tough weeks in a row,” he explained.

“This is the fourth week in a row and that’s not ideal, mentally or physically, plus we have a two hour drive to get to Cavan.

“We played Cavan in the league and they are a good team. In our League match there was only a couple of points in it with five minutes to go.

“They are a good team, very physical, and they play 13 behind the ball which makes them difficult to break down.

“They have some dangerous forwards and two very useful free takers which means discipline will be key on Saturday. We gave away a lot of frees against them in the league and it helped keep them stay in the game so we have to be aware of that. They are going to be hard to handle.”

Eoghan Hawe, Enda Downey and Sean Kearney were among the scorers last week and despite the obvious dangers of fatigue, Campbell believes his players will have benefitted from the experience of their first minor championship match.

“Last week’s match brought the boys on. We weren’t sure how good we were. We hadn’t paid too much attention to the league, we were trying different players out. We had limited time so we had to look at as many players and systems as we could.

“There is not much in this championship, between any of the teams. That is how it is at minor level. You rarely get a runaway winner at this level but the boys are buoyant after last week.

“If we can get through this week, we’ll have a bit of a break to recharge but we have a long journey and Cavan will be hoping to ambush us. This is their big Championship opener. We played ours already but they will be up for this.

“We got Monaghan on a good day last week. They had already hammered Donegal in the League final the week before and then had a two hour journey up to us but we are confident we can do well if the legs aren’t too tired.

We have some good players and hopefully we lift it again this week.”