Derry boss Dominic McKinley insists it's too early for league tables after Mayo defeat

Allianz National Hurling League, Division 2B

Monday, 10th May 2021, 7:22 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 7:24 pm
Derry manager Dominic McKinley.

Derry senior hurling manager Dominic McKinley says he won’t be looking at any league tables just yet despite Sunday’s narrow opening day defeat to Mayo meaning they retain only an outside chance of promotion in the shortened league season.

An impressive late rally, led by Niall Ferris’ goal in Castlebar, wasn’t enough to stop the Oak Leafers slipping to a 0-21 to 1-16 defeat in McHale Park, a result which leaves Mayo in pole position for an instant return to Division 2A next season and Derry facing anther huge away day against Kildare in two weeks time.

Despite his disappointment at the result, McKinley said they wouldn’t be looking any further ahead than the next game.

“Another week will do us a world of good,” explained McKinley, “We have yet to see whether or not we go with a challenge match. For us, it’s about getting bodies back and getting rid of these niggly injuries which boys are carrying but it’s going to be another tough game.

“Every match is tight and the more you lose, the more you are getting toward the bottom but we are not even thinking about top or bottom yet. We have to suck this defeat up and get on with it, get back at it in the week and see what we can do ahead of Kildare.”

As a new management team coming in, McKinley and Cormac Donnelly have been worse hit than most by the inability to test their new squad in challenge games.

“Everybody knows not to get those competitive games, you can’t play this game properly unless you get a bit of competitive action,” added McKinley. “Our handling, we dropped so much possession, and a major part of that and the other small mistakes was not playing competitive games.

“You can have friendlies and training and all but you can never replicate that match intensity so hopefully this match will help us going in the next day which is another difficult games against Kildare.”

The Derry manager admitted Mayo deserved their two point win but was left frustrated at Derry’s failure to build on a superb start to the second half.

"It was a scrappy game at times but you would expect that at this time of the year,” he added. “We started the second half very well, we had a great spell, played very well and then we came there at the end again but you don’t get away with only playing for spells in matches.

“It is disappointing but overall Mayo were slightly better in their teamwork, coming out with the ball, and they used their players better. We did play well too but not consistently enough.

“We went more direct and had them three or four goal chances, all we needed was one of the them but it just wasn’t to be on the day. Mayo’s possession hurling, the way they played the game, was better than ours. We brought it back to two points but crucially we let them get back out to a six point lead again and that made it a real uphill climb.

“That spell left us going for goals and things at the end and that was disappointing having played ourselves back to within two points. It’s a long journey home now but we are still missing quite a few boys yet and we need them. That’s not making excuses for today but we do need them all them.

“Hopefully in two weeks time when we take on Kildare we might have a bit more manpower available as well which is very important.”