City of Derry coach Richard McCarter says players 'must keep season alive' against Enniscorthy

AIL Division 2C: Enniscorthy v City of Derry (Saturday, Alcast Park, 2.30pm)

The permutations are numerous at both ends of All Ireland League Division 2A but City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter has a simple message for his players: Keep our season alive!

That might be easier said than done though as Derry’s penultimate game of their AIL season takes them to Alcast Park to face runaway league leaders Enniscorthy for a game from which the Judges Road men must take something from.

Derry currently sit eighth, one place above the two relegation play-off berths with the final day visit of Tullamore to come next weekend but given the margins in Division 2C, the wrong set of results could take Derry’s fate out of their own hands, something McCarter is adamant his team must avoid.

City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter. Derry travel to league leaders Enniscorthy tomorrow requiring something from the game to stay in with a shout of avoiding the relegation play-off. (Photo: George Sweeney)

“We have to concentrate on ourselves but at the same time you are looking at those other results because if things go our way this Saturday it will be in our hands next week going into the Tullamore game which is ultimately what we want,” explained the Derry Head Coach.

“However, if things don’t go our way this week then next Saturday could become irrelevant so it’s important that we look after ourselves. We absolutely must get something from this game at the weekend, and preferably it’s four points.”

News on the injury front hasn’t been kind to Derry with Craig Huey, Tiernan Thornton and Simon Logue all picking up knocks during last week’s victory over Sunday’s Well which will keep them out of action this week while Stephen Corr remains sidelined.

The Wexford men have suffered only two defeats all season and have already cemented top spot in the league, meaning they will meet the team that finishes fourth in the Top four promotion play-offs and have nothing on the line in Saturday’s match, a fact McCarter is hoping Derry can take advantage of.

City of Derry forward Gerard Doherty on the charge against Sunday's Well last week. Derry travel to league leaders Enniscorthy tomorrow requiring something from the game to stay in with a shout of avoiding the relegation play-off. (Photo: George Sweeney)

“Enniscorthy cannot be caught in terms of the top four play-offs and while it won’t make things any easier for us you just don’t know where they are at because there’s no pressure on them now until the semi-final,” added McCarter, They aren’t for a couple of weeks so they may choose to rotate their squad a bit but that’s up to them, we have to concentrate on ourselves.

“They have nothing to play for in these last two games other than pride and maybe seeking to keep their good run going so hopefully that can count for something with us fighting for our lives at the other end.

“That said, Enniscorthy have been the most impressive team in the division this year, there’s no doubt about that. The fact they are 12 points clear with two games to go tells its own story. When we played them earlier in the year, we felt all season they were the best team but Sunday’s Well managed to beat them and it took a last minute penalty for them to beat Omagh last week.

“So they are beatable but it’s one of those games in which we have to be on top of our game and hope they are maybe slightly distracted. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility but we have to go there with belief. That’s what we have been saying to the lads all week, we have to go down there and believe we can win and I genuinely believe we can.

“If Tullamore win and Bangor win this weekend - and both would be expected to win - then the top four places will be decided with Tullamore fourth so, again, they could be coming up here next week with nothing to play for but the challenge for us is making sure we have something to play for when they get here.

“There are so many permutations at both ends, the only good thing is that after this Saturday we’ll know exactly what has to happen and what we have to do. However, I would not want to be relying or trusting any other teams to do us any favours, we have to look after ourselves.”

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