City of Derry meet CIYMS in search of back to back victories
Head Coach Richard McCarter believes City of Derry have found themselves a formula for success as they seek back-to-back Kukri Ulster Qualifying League victories for the first time this season.
CIYMS are Saturday's visitors to Judges Road and following last week's derby victory over Limavady which saw Derry overturn a 3-0 half-time deficit to storm home 44-3, McCarter is hoping for a re-run of their second half performance, this time stretching over the 80 minutes.
"One of the most pleasing things about the second half last week against Limavady was, as it went on we started to express ourselves, " explained the Derry coach, "Our individual quality shone. The likes of Logie (Simon Logue), Davy Graham, Corrsy (Stephen Corr) and boys like that really stepped up and it became comfortable by the end.
"What I liked at the start of the second half was we played in the right areas. We scored an early try to get our noses in front but we we never felt we needed to go gung-ho to win it in five minutes. Alex (McDonnell) kicked a couple of important penalties that stretched our lead and then when the game was 11-3 we became really dominant. We released the shackles, had a real go and made things comfortable.
"We showed real maturity up to that point; maturity to not panic, play in the right areas and when we had our opportunities we struck. That has to be the mould going forward. We have to play in the right areas, build an innings and if we get a chance to go for it, we really go for it."
Consistency has become something of a holy grail at Judges Road over the past few seasons, Derry often showing their potential in key games but unable to follow up one positive display with another. That's something McCarter is keen to address.
"We now have a challenge to build on that second half. It hasn't even been just this season but over recent years we have been able to win games, even big games, in isolation and then lose the next two or three and that's not good enough.
"That's where the frustration lies because what we saw in the second half last week was what I had hoped I would see every Saturday," he added, "We have to start better this week against CIYMS . It can't take a grilling at half-time or for us to be behind to kick us into gear.
"Our experienced players have got to step up now and start leading from the first minute. If we can do that we will settle quicker and it will make things a lot easier for us."
Last week's win moved Derry into mid-table sixth position in Division One. The Belfast men are two places behind in eighth but also have a game in hand on Derry with one win from their four games to date.
McCarter will be without Tiernan Thornton and Jack Beattie this week which should see Ross McLaughlin and Dara Gill come in to cover as the Judges Road side chase what would be a third success in six games.
"Again, I don't know much more about CIYMS than their results," he added, "They have taken a few heavy defeats but teams could say same about us, though from our point of view this is definitely a winnable game. We need to build on our second half performance from last week.
"(Limavady) was a strange game because we actually started pretty well. We were causing all the problems but then we suddenly couldn't string two passes together. Simple unforced errors and we couldn't get any rhythm. there was no intensity to our play and the longer that first half went on the more Limavady grew in confidence.
"We made a couple of changes at half-time and you could just tell from the kick-off there was amore intensity to our game, more urgency. We were doing the basics better and disrupting their play but we really need to back it up against CIYMS now."