Derry players deserve respect - McErlain

Derry manager Damian McErlain
Derry manager Damian McErlain

Damian McErlain believes his players deserve more respect despite acknowledging the Oak Leafers were always in ‘no win’ territory during their Division Four campaign.

The Oak Leafers head into Saturday’s League final against Leitrim after seven straight wins and with promotion secured and McErlain was full of praise for his players.

“We knew we were never going to get any credit but we can’t be distracted by that,” explained the Derry manager. “We have to focus on the game and building the squad. We know where we are at and where we have to get to.

“We have completed the round robin stage with seven out of seven which is very positive but it’s still about building the side. From now until the end of the season, every match is a Championship match and that’s a different level; the opposition will be a different level, startling with Leitrim.”

The Derry boss also dismissed suggestions that Saturday’s final was a bigger game for Leitrim than Derry who were competing the Division One final as recently as 2014.

“It is a Croke Park final, it’s very important to us and we’ll be going with that mentality. Leitrim will carry a huge crowd but we’ll get a few down and hopefully the supporters really get behind us because the players have worked savagely hard over the winter and deserve the support.

“They have been first class and deserve a bit of respect. We haven’t got the credit but we certainly deserve a bit of respect and hopefully we can deliver, first and foremost, for the squad itself.”