We keep focus on ourselves says Derry boss Rory Gallagher ahead of Limerick semi-final

Derry manager Rory Gallagher says the Oak Leaf focus will remain on their own performance ahead of their meeting with Limerick for a place in next season’s Allianz League Division Two.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 4:47 pm
Updated Monday, 31st May 2021, 4:50 pm

Derry rounded off a hugely impressive group section with a hard fought two point victory over Cavan at Kingspan Breffni on Saturday at about the same time as Limerick were recording a 2-19 to 1-12 win against Wicklow to secure second spot in the southern section. The various divisions now draw breath for a fortnight following an intensive three weeks of competition with no action until that semi-final on June 12th in Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon.

That leaves plenty of time for preparation but Gallagher stressed, his primary focus remains on his own team.

“Limerick are a team we’ll get our heads around,” explained the Derry boss, “We’ll focus on ourselves for the next couple of weeks. A long time ago I was living around Limerick and I trained with Limerick one night a week and it was a very physical brand of training.

Derry manager Rory Gallagher. (Photo: George Sweeney)

“It’s been very intense since we got going again. We’ve met up a lot since we got the go ahead to resume training. We’ve made the most every day and built a chemistry among each other, talked through different situations and trained at a high level. Over the next couple of days we’ll rest and meet up again Wednesday or Thursday for some quality work.”

Brendan Rogers' second half hamstring injury took the shine somewhat off Saturday’s victory and Gallagher admitted he was frustrated Derry had allowed Cavan back into a match the Oak Leafers led 1-13 to 1-06 at the second half water break.

“The last two games were false reading, they were too easy to be honest,” added Gallagher, “We knew Cavan had everything on the line, they’re Ulster champions, they’re a very proud county. They were coming here to try and get a victory to get promotion and get them back to Division Two.

“We brought a very relentless attitude. We weren’t brilliant all the time. We played sometimes brilliant and sometimes average. We feel we haven’t won many games against quality opposition. When you are an emerging team you have to up the levels and play teams that are ranked above you so the biggest plus is it’s a game against a serious team. With all due respect to being in the lower divisions, you’re not playing teams of that calibre. We want to play teams like Cavan and teams like them more.

“We played some outstanding football into a slight breeze (in the third quarter). I thought we were really, really good and got some quality scores. Unfortunately, and you don’t want to be negative, but we were in such a good position so to go from 1-13 to 1-6 at one stage to letting them bring it in to a point, that was disappointing. But we pushed on and while it was only a two point victory we were by a good stretch the better team.”