Despite scoring a six point victory over London at Owenbeg on Sunday, McKinley and Cormac Donnelly’s team were well below the standards they’ve set this season and conceded a similar display this weekend could spell the end of their championship season.
“There’s plenty for us to work on and to be honest, I don’t know what happened to us, we were very complacent,” conceded McKinley after the 3-14 to 1-14 victory, “We lacked a bit of energy about us and particularly in he first half with that cross field wind, we shot some poor wides.
“It’s something that has bothered us in two or three games and you would expect better when the players are going in there, understanding the goals and where you should shoot from and all. Today we were shooting from the right places but the player weren’t accessing the wind factor.
“The good thing was we got the win. All I said to the boys there was, while we’re all disappointed we have to pick the positives from it and prepare for next weekend which is a seriously important game.”
Goals from Gerald Bradley, Odhran McKeever and Tiarnan McHugh proved critical against the Exiles but 19 wides told the tale of a frustrating afternoon.
“The second half was a lot better,” added the Derry boss, “we took control of the game a bit more at different stages but, no, we were all irritated because we know we are better than what we showed and we have to find the reasons for that and make sure we are better against Mayo.
“If we play like that against Mayo we could be in trouble because it’s a big game. There can be no excuses next weekend. We travel on Friday evening but preparing for next weekend starts now. It’s a shoot-out. Whoever wins goes to the final so there’s no room for error.
“We are looking forward to it, sure isn’t that what you play for. It’s a proper championship game, winner takes all and I believe we will improve for it. We have the players and the quality to do that.
“Today wasn’t the day, we just didn’t get on the ball and one thing or another but there were positives. Eamon McGill was very good, Gabriel (Farren) who came in to replace Paddy Kelly, I thought he did very well, as well. Up front, we only got going in stages. Our link play can improve, you saw with the third goal Gerald setting it up for big Tiarnan, those are the type of things you’d expect to see more but it just didn’t happen.”
McKinley said Derry’s frustration over Sunday’s performance was indicative of the progress the squad has made over recent months, progress he wants to see continue with a spot in the championship final.
“When we started with Derry, the teams we are beating regularly now were beating Derry. To be fair to the players, this is twice or three times we have beaten some of these teams now and that’s progression.
“We still want to win next week, still want to get into the Christy Ring Final, because we felt we could have done much better against Kildare the last day but we have a very big game to try and win before we can even think about that.”