DERRY SENIOR hurling manager Ger Rogan is likely to be without captain Ruairi Convery and Liam Hinphey for the second game in succession when his side travels to Kerry to complete their National League Division 2A fixture list (throw-in 3.00pm).
Michael Wilson reports
Both Convery and Hinphey missed last weekend’s disappointing 18-point reversal against Laois in Celtic Park, a defeat that ended hopes of a place in the League final and Rogan will not risk the influential pair if there is the slightest doubt. On the plus side Oisin McCloskey should be available as Rogan’s team looks to bounce back from a defeat which was not in keeping with what has otherwise been a very positive campaign.
Last week was a difficult pill to swallow for the Derry manager but he defended his young squad and said he was expecting to see a reaction against The Kingdom.
“We bounce back by going to training and going at it even harder,” explained the Derry manager, “We’ll travel down to Kerry and look for a result. There’s no point in concerning ourselves with how we lift ourselves. When you play at this level – and Laois are a Liam McCarthy team, that’s a very good side.
“Okay, we didn’t play well last week, but we competed against Westmeath, a team who defeated Laois and you have to learn. You learn more in defeat than you do in winning by 10 or so points and Laois will probably feel that they didn’t learn anything. That was our responsibility, we didn’t test them enough. From that point of view, they probably went away disappointed because we’ve learned more from that defeat than they have from that win.”
Derry currently sit fourth in the Division 2A table, two points behind the three teams above them in the table but scoring difference means there is little chance of catching wither Westmeath or Laois although Kerry, who are third, remain theoretically within reach.
Kerry’s scoring difference is nine better than the Oak Leafers meaning it would take a high scoring victory to overtake but after last week Rogan will be as concerned with the performance as with the result.
“If you look at the six players we started with in the forward line against Laois, it’s six young men. Young Brendan Rogers was outstanding and he’s just out of minors. Shane Farren, Tiarnan McCloskey, Alan Grant, it’s a very young side, it’s a very, very young side.
“These lads are learning their trade at this level, they really are learning it. Of course we were disappointed last week but we’re proud of the lads. We’re not going to start jumping over people because of a bad result.
“People talk about being out of your depth. So what if you’re out of your depth. You’re going to learn more playing against quality sides than you would against teams of lower divisions. We’re entitled to be in this division and we’ve shown that with our performances. It was a bad result last week but we’re not going to get up tight about it. What’s happened has happened and you’ll learn more about yourself from that performance there than we would have from, say, the game against Wicklow. We’re not going to lose the plot, it’s a learning curve,” he added.