City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter wants to see more commitment

City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter has challenged his players to show to show to take individual responsibility as they seek a first All Ireland League victory of the season.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 8:31 pm
Updated Sunday, 10th October 2021, 8:32 pm
City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2140GS – 055

McCarter's side went down 48-10 to a very impressive Enniscorthy at Judges Road on Saturday and while there were positives for the home side, McCarter wants his players to show more commitment as they plot a path through their current injury crisis.

Absentees played a part in a misfiring line-out and an overwhelmed scrum against the Wexford side with McCarter stressing these issues have to be ironed out on the training pitch.

"We have to see what the injury list looks like now," explained the Derry Head Coach, "Steven Corr is off with a hamstring injury, Cathal Cregan went off and there are a few other complaining about some bumps and bruises. It doesn't get any easier in terms of player availability but we have said to the boys that we need better commitment.

City of Derry’s Tiernan Thornton surveys his options during the game against Enniscorthy at Judges Road on Saturday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2140GS – 058

"We had three of the starting pack at training on Thursday night and there's not much Coops (Chris Cooper) can do line-out or scrum wise with that so we need to boys to take a bot of accountability now and get out to training and really fight to get back into this league."

There were some bright spots in the weekend defeat, notably the performance of the returning Calum O'Hagan who helped himself to a brace of tries but otherwise Derry were outplayed by a better side and McCarter had no complaints.

"It felt different to last week," added McCarter, "Last week was frustrating because we were the much better team but today we were outplayed, there's no way getting around that.

"I thought we still showed lost of positives, especially in the second half. The first half was difficult, the breeze out there was a bit stronger than it probably felt on the sidelines so it was hard to exit our '22. We needed to hang in there a bit better in the first half and then have more of a go in the second and be better on the ball.

"Callum was outstanding to be fair to him. Even in the warm up, his positivity, his energy was really excellent. He gave us that spark that we have been missing lately and he kept going right to the end. He put his tackles in, created problems for them and was our 'Man of the Match' comfortably I thought."

Derry's cause wasn't helped by injuries to two of their front row in the opening 10 minutes as they trailed 29-5 at half-time but McCarter was encouraged by a much improved second half.

"The squad is already down to the bare bones and then you lose a couple more players in the first few minutes. You're up against it but I thought the couple of lads who went on did well but we came up against a well drilled side who have been together for a number of years, a team who have the cohesion that we are probably lacking at the minute.

"That's what we have to take from a game like that. Had we been a bit better on the ball, for example - we were excellent once we got into the green zone last week at Tullamore, we scored three tries and were held up over the line three times, but today we just lacked a bit of a clinical edge and sharpness. On another day, there was a four try bonus point there for the taking."

Next up for Derry is a tricky trip to Munster to take on Sunday's well with McCarter hoping to see his team transform the good periods of play from the opening two games into an 80 minute performance.

"We finished the last 15 minutes against Tullamore really strongly and got a bonus point. Today we finished well, albeit they scored two very, very late tries, but before that we just seemed to find a second gear from somewhere. If we could flip that around now and get off to a very good start like that and try to maintain it, it would make a big difference.

"I don't think we will play too many better teams this year than Enniscorthy. Now it is about trying to remain positive and keep the heads up."

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