City of Derry coach McCarter hails players but stresses they have yet to complete Great Escape

City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter hailed his side's victory over Sunday's Well but stressed it will only have significance if they can complete their great escape.
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Saturday's 23-19 win over their relegation rivals saw Derry leapfrog the Cork men into eighth place and out of the two play-off spots from which one team will eventually lose its senior status. With games to finish against runaway league leaders, Enniscorthy and Tullamore, McCarter knows there will be twists and turns over the final two matches but was delighted to see his players give themselves every chance of staying up.

"We have done nothing yet. We knew we had three 'cup finals' left and we knew we had to win today but we're also realistic and understand that there are two more 'cup finals' to play," explained the Derry coach.

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"This was big but it's only big until this time next Saturday. We will enjoy it and thoroughly deserved it and it was a massive win for us but we have to go again against Enniscorthy. We know how tough that is going to be. They are cruising at the top of the league so it's going to be difficult to get anything from that game but if we show the same commitment and attitude as we did today, we will give ourselves a real chance."

GET IN! . . .City of Derry's Head coach Richard Carter celebrates his side's crucial win over Sundays well at Judges Road on Saturday. (Photo: George Sweeney)GET IN! . . .City of Derry's Head coach Richard Carter celebrates his side's crucial win over Sundays well at Judges Road on Saturday. (Photo: George Sweeney)
GET IN! . . .City of Derry's Head coach Richard Carter celebrates his side's crucial win over Sundays well at Judges Road on Saturday. (Photo: George Sweeney)

McCarter was full of praise for his players who only hit the front in Saturday's match in the 63rd minute and had to withstand some immense late Sunday's Well pressure before finally getting the four point victory over the line.

"It was another 'cup final' - something I feel like I've been saying every week over the past two months - but the boys knew it had added importance today," he added, "It was make or break with only three games left but, yeah, they dug in and were superb in attack and defence. That last defensive set that lasted about three or four minutes, it showed the attitude and commitment we had overall.

"They're a good bunch and it's important that we keep believing we can get through this and keep fighting every week. We've shown that we have the ability and are capable. Sunday's Well's form coming into this game was top four form and I have always said that we can mix it with any opposition in this league and today probably proved that."

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The weekend win also saw the return of Simon Logue following an injury hampered season, the influential back scoring one try and creating a second for Ross McLaughlin in a superb display and McCarter was delighted to have him back.

"Listen, he is different gravy and that is no disrespect to any of the other lads. He is just a level above to be honest," he admitted, "Every time he got on the ball he was superb but I thought others put their hands up defensively. Davy Graham won crucial turnovers, especially at the end, and to be honest it would be unfair to single out anybody but it was a real team result.

"We definitely got the defensive improvement we wanted. If I am being critical we can still be a bit naive at time or a bit silly, as the penalty before half-time showed, but they put us under an awful lot of pressure and we had to make a lot of tackles though that was ultimately what won us the game."

Sunday's Well had won four games from six since the Christmas turnaround, having failed to win any of their opening nine, and McCarter was impressed with how his team handled the in-form Munster team.

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"The game was a bit broken and it was after the first half water break that we were saying it was unbelievable that the game was still scoreless. We always felt that we would need to take our chances against them because what's happened us a few times this year is we've had all the pressure and the opposition have gone down the other end and scored which is basically what Sunday's Well did in the first half.

"We went behind a couple of times in the game but showed tremendous character to come back into it. Some of the play was real gutsy, a real staying in there type of performance but with the ball we were also very skilful and showed our ability."