Derry boss Johnny McGarvery says plenty to build on despite Kerry defeat

​It wasn't the start he was hoping for but Derry senior hurling manager Johnny McGarvey saw enough in Saturday's defeat against Kerry to tell him he has sound foundations to build on.

After losing 14 from last season's panel and only coming into the job three weeks previously, McGarvey has had his work cut out over the past fortnight and is realistic about the job in front of him.

Defeat to the Kingdom was predictable, though the 2-22 to 0-14 final score doesn't adequately tell the tale of a game that was 0-16 to 0-14 after 50 minutes as the Oak Leafers battled and scrapped for every ball.

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Kerry's class told in the end thanks to two gift wrapped goals which gave the final score a skewed look but while admitting he has plenty of work ahead of him, the new Derry boss believes he has the right players to do it.

Derry senior hurling manager Johnny McGarvey. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2306GS – 30Derry senior hurling manager Johnny McGarvey. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2306GS – 30
Derry senior hurling manager Johnny McGarvey. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2306GS – 30

"I thought we played very well, were very competitive for 50, 55 minutes but I suppose in the end their class up front told," explained McGarvey, "The more we pushed, the more easily they were able to pick off scores at the other end.

"The two goals were two mistakes we made. It's disappointing because the final scoreline probably doesn't reflect the type of game that it was for 50-55 minutes but we know we have a lot of work to do up front to compete in this league. We have to be well over the 14 points that we scored today.

"We left a lot of chances out there, especially in the first half. We should have been closer at half-time, we should have been going in two behind but ended up five behind.

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"It is disappointing that it ended that way but there are plenty of encouraging signs there too. We battled well for long periods."

An excellent start to the second half had seen Derry peg Kerry back to two points at 0-16 to 0-14 before Kerry's opening goal stopped the Oak Leafers in their tracks.

"Yes, we looked at a stage in the second half like we could push on but we couldn't get the ball to stick up front and we couldn't get our scores on the board," added the Derry manager.

"They were four up when the first goal went in, they tagged on a couple of scores and suddenly it was 10. The more we pushed, the more they exploited the space we left. Look, we have plenty to build on. We have a group of young lads there who are committed to the cause and who want to hurl for Derry.

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"They are working very, very hard but we were under no illusions coming into this league. If you don't perform for 70 or even 80 minutes at this level, the game will run away from you and it did run away from us today.

"The game was there at that stage so the result is disappointing, or the manner of the result is disappointing. The finish was disappointing but I couldn't fault the attitude.

"I thought we battled so well at the back. I thought we were very good with the ball but in the second half we really struggled to make it stick up front and, if it is not sticking then we cannot create chances. We have a lot to work on but there are encouraging signs."

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