City of Derry coach admits "worse fears" realised in opening day Dromore defeat
Derry’s re-introduction to the Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship, Division 1 couldn’t have gone much worse as the Co. Down side ran in three first half tries and managed the second with relative ease to highlighted the scale of the challenge Derry of they are to return to the All Ireland League any time soon.
“It was just nowhere near good enough,” conceded McCarter, “My fears were realised over the first half hour of the game when we just weren’t at the races at all. Dromore, they played well, but our defensive shape was all over the place. We made them look like world beaters.
“Thankfully for our sake, and for our sanity, we regathered ourselves in the 10 minutes before and after half-time which got us back in the game but we just never looked like pushing on to try and properly make a game of it.
“I really hope it wasn’t complacency because it has been drummed in the squad since we met up in July that this will not be an easy league. We will not get things our own way because this is a very tough league to get out of. Teams like Dromore are hardened to this league. They have got good players and play good rugby but our mentality was not right for the majority of that game.”
Tries from Callum O’Hagan and Davy Graham either side of half hinted at a Derry comeback that never materialised with McCarter stating they must return to the drawing board ahead of next week’s encounter away to Grosvenor.
“It was a cagey game in the second half but we started from 22 pints down. I thought our try at the start of the second half gave us a glimmer of hope because it left us needing two tries to win with a bonus point but our execution was terrible. We were doing things I have never seen us do, even in training. We talked before the game about having a desperation to win but we just looked desperate at times, making things up on the spot and that’s not what we are about.
“Things haven’t gone smoothly for us as regards injuries over the last couple of weeks but I know from talking to the Dromore lads there, they picked up a few last week so it certainly isn’t an excuse, but of course it doesn’t help preparation.
“We’ve just said to the boys, on Thursday when we did a team run we were missing five of the starting 15. If you’re missing 33 per cent of your team two nights before a game then what should you expect to happen on a Saturday.”