City of Derry travel to Dromore on pivotal weekend in fight for fourth
The match is an opportunity for Derry to set the record straight after the Co. Down club shocked the ‘Green and Black’ on the opening day of the season, scoring a thoroughly deserved 14-25 victory at Judges Road.
That result was the catalyst for a poor start to the season which Derry have managed to leave behind them thanks to a string of vastly improved displays either side of Christmas but to have any chance of ousting Dromore from fourth, they simply have to win at Barban Hill.
"This is a big match for both teams," admitted City of Derry Head Coach Richard McCarter, “Dromore played through the week so they have opened up a bit of a gap but we have a game in hand so in terms of that race for fourth spot, this weekend is a massive game.
"That first game of the season was not a good day for us. We were really, really poor – especially in the opening quarter of the game. We were something like 22-0 down. We kicked poorly and they punished us with three tries from kick returns.
"That was a very disappointing day but I would like to think we have come on a fair bit since the first day or the season. Hopefully it will be a different City of Derry side that turns up this weekend.”
With the exception of David Browne, who picked up an injury in the defeat at Ballyclare last time out, McCarter says he expects to be a full strength with Tiernan Thornton likely to drop into the back row to replace Browne.
Last week’s visit of Grosvenor fell victim to the wintry weather which hit the north west and McCarter says they are anxious to get back out and hit the ground running for their final four fixtures.
"It’s the six of one, half a dozen of the other. You want to keep the momentum going because although we lost at Ballyclare, we played quiet well. At the same time, that was a really tough, physical game so the week off probably did the boys no harm.
"We have to really go after these final four games, none more so than Saturday. Cooke have pretty much got third sewn up. They are well ahead of both us and Dromore now so it really is that fight for fourth we have to go for.