City of Derry seek to bounce back against Grosvenor

​On October 22nd, 2022, City of Derry lost at home to Carrick to cap a thoroughly disappointing start to life back in the junior ranks. It was stick or twist time.

City of Derry coach Chris Cooper (left) with Head Coach Richard McCarter. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2301GS – 52
City of Derry coach Chris Cooper (left) with Head Coach Richard McCarter. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2301GS – 52

After some soul searching, Head Coach Richard McCarter set his players a challenge of reaching top four over their remaining 10 league league games. The goal required a massive upturn in performance but six games in to it, they've won four and only lost out to the division's top two, Clogher Valley and Ballyclare.

The defeat to the latter came last weekend but even in the 26-10 reversal there was positive signs. The challenge now is to maintain their performance levels facing into their final four games described by McCarter as 'tough but winnable', starting with Saturday’s visit of Grosvenor.

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"The lowest point in the year was definitely Carrick at home," admitted McCarter, who missed the Ballyclare game, "We said after that we had 10 'cup finals' and since then, we've played six and won four.

"Coops (Chris Cooper) told the players after the game on Saturday that he was proud of the defensive effort. They had all put their bodies on the line so, yeah, we are pleased with how things are going.

"There are quite a few big games coming up. We go to Dromore next Saturday which is a huge game. It makes it very important that we win this weekend. We have four winnable games coming up, two home and two away, but all four are going to be tough.

"We are into a game now on Saturday and it's a game we should be winning but we have to make sure we get over the line."

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Jamie Millar's absence on Saturday will see Simon Logue switch to scrum-half should the game get the green light after a week of wintry weather that has played havoc Derry's training. Victory is the target but McCarter is keen to side his side push on if they are in a position to do so.

"Apart from the big wins against Limavady and CIYMS, we've missed out on a few bonus points that could have made a difference," he added, "We missed out at Carrick and really should have had one against Cooke. They do make a big difference because there's now eight between ourselves and Cooke in third, although there's only two between us and Dromore in fourth.

"Saturday is a game we have to win first and foremost, but also try and push for a bonus if in a position to do it.”