Derry hurlers face Kildare still seeking first win of league season

Reese McSorley looks set to miss the visit of Kildare to Owenbeg this Sunday.. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2306GS – 24Reese McSorley looks set to miss the visit of Kildare to Owenbeg this Sunday.. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2306GS – 24
Reese McSorley looks set to miss the visit of Kildare to Owenbeg this Sunday.. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2306GS – 24
​Derry senior hurlers welcome Kildare to Owenbeg this Sunday (12.30pm) still in search of their first league points of the season.

The Division 2A league table has become two divisions within one as the top three – Offaly, Kerry and Kildare – battle it out for promotion on full points from two games with Derry, Down and Carlow behind them without a point between them.

The latter two play this weekend in Carlow with Derry's league campaign finishing with fixtures against their direct rivals for survival and manager Johnny McGarvey admits they have to find a first win to give themselves any chance of avoiding relegation.

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"It does look at this stage that the top three as they stand will fight to go up and the bottom three will fight to stay up," explained the Oak Leaf manager, "You have to look at it like that after two games.

"We know we need to get a result somewhere to have any chance of staying up. I'm sure Down and Carlow are going into this weekend thinking a result for them and then they have to play us. Whoever wins that game at the weekend will be thinking, 'Right, we have Derry and we have to win that to stay up.'

"Four points will probably guarantee staying up. That's how they will be looking at it and we are looking at it no different but we have to get a result to give ourselves a chance."

Derry look like being without Reese McSorley for the visit of the Lilywhites as McGarvey ponders how to turn the encouraging first 40-50 minutes he saw against both against Kerry and Offaly into 70 minute displays.

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"We are concentrating on the process of getting the team to the level we want it to be," explained the Lavey native, "If we could get to a stage where we are happy with how we are performing, results take care of themselves. Now, we are quite happy with the first 40 minutes of both games, maybe even the first 60 against Kerry, but it is trying to ensure that we are not making as many mistakes, mistakes that are putting us out of matches.

"I think genuinely enough that is what happened to us in both games. It's not that we were in a position to win the matches but we very much played ourselves out of it rather than the opposition taking over and beating us."

With Kildare arriving on the back of an impressive 14 points dismantling of Carlow and a narrow single point victory over Down, McGarvey is expecting another tough test of his side this weekend.

"Kildare looked very, very good against Carlow and Carlow were then fairly good against Kerry so it is difficult to know," he explained, "Look, I wouldn't' say we are not worried about Kildare but we are very much focused on trying to get things right from our own point of view. We are making a lot of mistakes, we are fading out of games and it is costing us very, very dear.

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"One thing I will say about our lads is that they have plenty of heart and plenty of character and they are working very, very hard. It's just at the moment our levels of performances are not at the level they need to be.

"Had we a full pre-season I would like to think we would be closer than we are at the minute but that's just the way it is. We're trying to prepare as best we can for every game, cut out our own mistakes and then trying to give ourselves a chance to get a result.

"I couldn't find fault at all with the boys and their attitude. They have given us everything and there is serious potential there. The young lads that have come in, the likes of James Friel and Callum O'Kane who are both U20s, they have been excellent . Everything bar the results have been encouraging."

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