City of Derry produce "season's best display" to defeat Ballymena Seconds
Delighted City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter described his side's midweek 23-38 Junior League Cup victory over Ballymena Seconds as their best performance of the season.
The had been rescheduled after being postponed last Saturday leaving the Judges Road men with a tricky midweek trip to Eaton Park, a prospect made all the more treacherous by almost incessant rain which ensured a very difficult playing surface.
Indeed, Derry's prospects didn't look good when a 10-0 lead they fashioned inside the opening 11 minutes was pegged back by the home team who led 16-10 early in the second half. That was as good as it would get for Ballymena though as Derry went through the gears to finish the game in superb fashion as tries from David Lapsely (2), Cathal Cregan (2) , Jamie Millar and Killene Thornton secured a second win of the competition.
"I'mdelighted by the display because we knew that the game would be a tough one for us," said McCarter, "It was always going to be hard not knowing what they were like but we knew Ballymena are a good club so you'd imagine they have an extended senior squad and their Seconds would be strong.
"They won the Seconds League as well so we knew it wouldn't be easy, especially on a difficult Wednesday night away. So, to go up there and score 38 points and six tries, I was delighted. It was arguably our best performance of the season.
"We've had two away games and two good away victories in this cup and that's five games in a row in all competitions we've won with bonus points. We are scoring a lot of tries and our whole attitude and body language has changed from earlier in the season.
"We never look beaten and look really hungry. The boys' reactions to scoring, you can tell they really want it. Next Saturday becomes massive for us. It is basically knock-out, we have to win it but we are definitely in the right place at the minute to go and do that."
That game will see Ballynahinch Seconds arrive at Judges Road for the final game of the group. ''Hinch play Carrick on Friday night and victory for the Co. Down club would ensure a winner-takes-all clash against the 'Green and Black'.
"The boys deserve lots of credit because Wednesday was an excellent win and we were very, very good in really tricky conditions," added McCarter.
"The heavy rain made the pitch very difficult and it cut up really badly. Myself and Coops (Chris Cooper) didn't really get the fully effect of it until we were out on it at half-time and realised how heavy it was which was even more credit to the boys for producing that type of performance on it.
"The boys are all very hungry to be involved now and I can't remember the last time Derry won five games in a row, I genuinely can't.
"We are delighted but it will count for nothing if we don't win next Saturday. That said it is a long time since we have been in a position were we are going into games as confident as we are right now. We have that feel about us which we haven't had for a long time."