City of Derry face tough final day trip to CIYMS

City of Derry Head coach Richard McCarter.City of Derry Head coach Richard McCarter.
City of Derry Head coach Richard McCarter.
​City of Derry face a must win, final day trip to CIYMS in Ulster Qualifying Division One on Saturday, and Head Coach Richard McCarter couldn't be happier about it

The Judges Road men travel to Belfast knowing a home, bonus point victory, coupled with Derry leaving empty handed, would rob them off fifth spot and with it, their chance to compete in next season's All Ireland Junior Cup should either Clogher Valley or Ballyclare gain promotion to the AIL.

And after an indifferent start to the season that threatened to finish Derry's season before it got off the ground, coach McCarter is delighted to see his team finishing strongly and with a genuine target to aim for on the final day.

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"We have to win against CIYMS because if we finish fifth, I think we have a good chance of qualifying for that All Ireland Junior Cup next season which I would like the boys to experience," explained McCarter, "I know we've played a lot of All Ireland League rugby over the past few seasons but this is knock-out competition and traditionally the Ulster club do quite well in it.

"That's part of the motivation because if CIYMS beat us then they finish fifth so both teams have plenty to play for. They would need to beat us with a bonus point but we're going into the game with the attitude that we have to win. We want to finish with a win and then take that momentum into the cup games as well."

McCarter will have Simon Logue back for the game and is also expected to hand a debut to teenager James McKillop, son of club legend, Bob, who has been showing real potential in the club's youth ranks and with Foyle College.

Derry's final league game will be followed by new League Cup competition which gets underway on March 4th with the 'Green and Black' this week being grouped with Carrick, Ballymena IIs and Ballynahinch IIs.

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"We are going into something of the unknown as regard the two seconds sides in the cup," added McCarter, "We'd expect them to be fairly strong given the status of the two clubs but at the same time, that bit of unknown is is good for us because we can just go in and play our own game under no real pressure.

"We have to win the group to advance to the semi-final so it will be tough regardless but that's for another day. Our focus now is only on the final game.

"We beat CIYMS at home but the scoreline flattered us that day as we scored a couple of late tries. It was a tough game. They played well against us that day but we didn't defend great and that's something we will looking to improve on.

"We have to be confident. I said to the boys on Tuesday, this is probably the first time in a long time that we are playing with confidence and have a chance to build momentum. And I'm not talking ages in term of weeks or months, I mean season since we've played with confidence so I want us to keep riding the crest of the wave. If we play well, I think we have a great chance of winning and I think we are playing quite well so we have to have that belief."