It’ll be no Minor battle for Derry

Derry manager Paddy Campbell talks to his players aftertheir semi-final victory over Tyrone.
Derry manager Paddy Campbell talks to his players aftertheir semi-final victory over Tyrone.

Paddy Campbell will bring his Oakleaf charges to Armagh for the third time this year as they attempt to retain the Ulster Minor title tomorrow night.

This time a familiar foe waits in Monaghan, the pre-tournament favourites.

The Farney men travelled to Celtic Park full of confidence ahead of their preliminary round game before being toppled by a resurgent Derry side after extra-time.

“Both teams have come on a lot and the teams have learned a lot from that day,” said the Derry manager. “I think Monaghan and ourselves have improved in certain aspects of our game for sure.

“We still expect Monaghan to play a lot of men behind the ball like they did in Celtic Park for the first game, sometimes it was 14 or 15 behind the ball and we will probably expect the same again.

“They look to be very strong and they have really improved, they look strong on kick-outs with very strong midfielders, two or three of them they can call upon.

“Their half forward line is very strong with half backs that are very good on the breaking ball, I think they have improved very much on their kick-outs.”

To this point the Derry management team on the sideline have got their match-ups spot on, something that has given their team the platform to excel despite coming up against some fine attacking units.

“As they did in Celtic Park they have five or six really good forwards. Most teams have two or three very good forwards but we genuinely know that these lads have a very good forward line with big physical men who can take points from 30 or 40 metres.

“That is a difficult thing to plan for when there is a lot of them but we we’ll do the best that we can,” the Derry boss stated.

Neither Campbell nor his players will take too much confidence from having already toppled Monaghan in this year’s championship, instead opting to take every game at its merits.

“It could work both ways, maybe they respect us a bit more now. They won the league final and semi-finals in the weeks before they played us so, they came pretty confident and they probably didn’t expect the game that they got.

“They went in at half-time seven up after playing into a strong breeze, we maybe caught them on the hop in the second half but it went to extra time and we still performed very well.

“Our team does finish well and they have confidence, they have great character about them but I suppose the same can be said about Monaghan.

“They dug deep against Donegal and I think they were six points down against Down in the championship before coming back to win the game.

“It could be a real close battle, as long as no team has bad luck then it’ll be the best team that will win and that is all that both teams can ask for,” Campbell concluded.