McGilligan back as Derry hurlers face Kildare in crunch Division 2B clash
Allianz Hurling League, Division 2B: Kildare v Derry (Sunday, 4pm)
Derry hurlers will welcome back Brian Og McGilligan for Sunday’s crucial Division 2B trip to Kildare (4pm).
The Banagher man is a major boost after missing the opening day defeat in Mayo but his return is tempered by the loss of Brendan Laverty and Conor Kelly, neither of whom are likely to feature this weekend, while Conor McAllister and Mark Craig also remain sidelined.
“We seem to be going through a tough period in terms of injuries and we’re still waiting on three or four who will be assessed closer to Sunday,” admitted joint Derry manager Dominic McKinley, “We’ve had a bad start in terms of injury. Players like Conor (McAllister) and Mark (Craig) are a big loss. Mark is a long term recovery but we’re hoping to have him back for the Christy Ring Cup. He’s doing his own rehab and working very hard at it but it’s disappointing to be without so many as this is another big game for us.”
Following defeat in Castlebar, promotion is out of Derry’s hands and only a victory over the Lilywhites will keep alive their hopes of topping the table.
“We’ve had a couple of good weeks hurling together and our training games seem to be better, you can see players getting their touch back,” added McKinley, “We were off the pace badly in Mayo but even then, when we analysed it, we still should have won with the number of goal chances.
“We’ve showed the players where we think they could improve against Kildare but it’s a massive task. Kildare had a good result against Donegal and ran up a big score but it’s nothing that can’t be counteracted if we can get everything together on Sunday.
“You will rarely get a full 70 minutes out of players at this stage of a season but we need everything they have. We need to get the intensity up.
“We are going game by game. Of course when we started the season we were looking promotion but once it starts you can only look at the game in front of you. Whether we win or lose, we still have to stick together and keeping working hard. There is no easy way out of it for anyone.
“Brian Og will help us. He’s a strong big player and has a good presence. He reads the game well and will help us because we are hoping to get more from our half-back line.”