RUGBY UNION: McCarter expects better City of Derry display

City of Derry coach Richard McCarter. DER3816-103KM
City of Derry coach Richard McCarter. DER3816-103KM

After suffering a heavy 51-6 defeat to Dungannon at home, City of Derry have the unenviable task of reversing the fixture to Stevenson Park on Saturday (KO 2.30pm).

Coach Richard McCarter wants the players to have more fight and desire on Saturday afternoon.

“Look it’s embrassing to concede 50 points no matter where you are playing but especially at home, because we pride ourselves on our home performances, especially in front of our own supporters.

“No disrespect to Dungannon but we have played better teams than them this season and we have performed as poorly or have shipped as many points.

“I think from a player’s point of view they should want to have a reaction this week and prove what they are capable of doing, whether it’s good enough to get a win or anything out of the game remains to be seen, but we need some sort of reaction and players have to be accountable now for some of their performances that they are putting in individually or collectively.

“So I’ll be disappointed if I didn’t see a bit of fight back on Saturday.”
Only 12 months ago the Judges Road men were in the relegation zone and they managed to avoid the drop, but McCarter is worried that they can’t repeat that turnaround this year.

“We were in this exact same position last year and we managed to get out of it, but I’m not so sure this time,” he added.

“But we have to keep believing that we can get out of it and not be too defeatist when we play, because there’s still lots of points up for grabs.

“However everything seems to going against us at the minute in terms of injuries snf guys not being available and we just don’t have the squad at the minute to counter for that, so we are constantly fighting a losing battle for that when it comes to selection.

“We can’t put out the same starting 15 two weeks in a row and it’s just a very difficult time at the club.”

If relegated to AIL 2C does happen McCarter feels the whole club needs to re-evaluate things both on and off the pitch.

“Look there’s definitely worse things that can happen, but my concern would be that we don’t go into free fall and if we dropped out of 2C that’s when it get very, very difficult when you drop into junior rugby,

“We were lucky enough to get out of it at our second attempt last time eight or nine years ago, but there are other teams like Portadown who are still down there after all these years.

“So if we did drop out of 2B this year, that’s when the club needs to act and do a big recruitment push which we have been threatening to do for the alast three or four years and it has never happened.

“I feel coaches, committee and everyone at the club will have to start looking at this sort of thing in January and not leave it until the last minute as usual.

“We were lucky with the group of players that we inherited that last time and most of those players have lasted this long for us, but now all of those guys aren’t there anymore.

“The likes of Andy Semple, David Funston, Josh Lewis, Peter Henderson, Mark O’Connor, myself and Stephen Ferguson.

“Now we have to strengthened the squad, year on, year because that’s the end of that era now, so we have to rebuild.

“We need to get 10 or 15 players this summer, young guys who are keen and build them up over the next few seasons.

“We have got a few good young players this year like Thomas Cole and Killian Thornton and a few other guys who will be there or there abouts over the next couple years, but it’s important that we keep strengthening year on, year and not just resting on our laurels.”