City of Derry coach McCarter seeking reaction against Grosvenor to kickstart season

Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship, Division 1: Grosvenor v City of Derry (Sat, Sept 3rd, Malone RFC)
City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter is hoping his side can get their season up and running this weekend as they travel to Grosvenor. (Photo: George Sweeney)City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter is hoping his side can get their season up and running this weekend as they travel to Grosvenor. (Photo: George Sweeney)
City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter is hoping his side can get their season up and running this weekend as they travel to Grosvenor. (Photo: George Sweeney)

City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter is backing his players to set the record straight this weekend against Grosvenor but stressed it shouldn’t take a poor performance to refocus minds and attitudes.

Derry were on the receiving end of a Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship, Division 1 reality check last week when Dromore deservedly left Judges Road with a 14-25 victory after a poor display from the home side. There are expected to be a few changes for the ‘Green and Black’ this week with even one or two surprises among the starting line-up but the biggest change McCarter wants to see is attitude and he’s confident he will get it.

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“There will be a few changes, a few enforced and a few after the performance last week which opened the door to give other players their chance,” explained the Derry Head Coach., “I just want to get off the mark as quickly as possible this year and we are more than capable of it. We haven’t turned into a bad team just because of one bad performance. We have to put last week behind us, start again and hopefully come into this game with renewed confidence. Those two or three players who will come into the side will add a bit of experience and threat, a bit more communication, and we will see how we go.

“I would be very confident we will see a reaction which is great, but also a very frustrating thing from a coaching point of view. We can’t be so up and down as we have been over recent seasons. We need to see that type of attitude every time we take the field. It shouldn’t take a disappointing performance or result to see a reaction. If we are serious about doing well this year we have to approach every game with the right mentality and not be so hot and cold. Everyone makes mistakes but we can’t go out the window for 20 minutes in every match, we have to find ways of getting through the tough periods in every game which we are more than capable of doing.”

Consistency has been McCarter’s holy grail over the past two seasons during which time his team have produced some superb displays, just not with any regularity.

“We are looking forward to Saturday now, looking forward to trying to bounce back but that in itself is a problem with us over the last season or two,” he admitted, “I have absolutely no doubt that we will bounce back in terms of our performance but we can’t be as up and down as our form has been.

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“It’s all about consistency, the consistency of doing the basic things right. We have proved over the last three or four years, even when we have been at our lowest points, we can still mix it with anybody. When we play well on our day, we have had the performances to back it up but far too often we just go out the gate.

“We need to be more consistent. I don’t know what our seasonal goals will be this year, I am more a week by week kind of a person. We have to try and win this week and then build on what is going to be a really tough game next Saturday against Ballyclare. The bottom line is, if we start getting consistency of performance then hopefully results will start to turn around.”

There could be a timely return for Simon Logue this weekend but Neil Burns remains sidelined against opposition McCarter admits he has only limited knowledge of. What he is sure of, especially having seen how Dromore enjoyed their victory at Judges Road, is how opposition teams view his team after dropping from the AIL last season.

“It is not anyone, me or anyone else at City of Derry saying we are going to be one of the top teams but that’s the way teams are going to perceive us or anyone who drops out of the AIL,” he explained, “If we want that tag for real then we have to back it up. We have to be mentally prepared to face things like that because I did notice with Dromore last week every tackle, every try, every turnover, Dromore were celebrating it and fair play to them, they earned that.

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“We had no real answers for them. This Saturday I’d expect Grosvenor will be the same. It is their first home game and with Malone also at home there will be a big crowd so we have to be in the right frame of mind for it. Mentally and physically, we have to be much improved.

#“I don’t know an awful lot about them. Like us, they lost last Saturday, away to Cooke, which will have been a tricky game for them but it’s a bit similar to last week for us. We need to get our own house in order first. If we play well and everyone performs their roles then we have a good chance of winning but if we turn up like last Saturday then anything could happen.”