City of Derry welcome third placed Cooke with point to prove

City of Derry Head coach Richard McCarter. Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2234GSCity of Derry Head coach Richard McCarter. Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2234GS
City of Derry Head coach Richard McCarter. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2234GS
Head Coach Richard McCarter believes City of Derry are a vastly improved team from the one brushed aside by Cooke earlier in the season.

A 44-22 scoreline in Belfast in September barely represented a second defeat in three games for the 'Green and Black' in a disappointing return to the junior ranks.

McCarter's team has steadily improved since with last week's impressive 0-43 hammering of Limavady lifting them to fifth in the Kukri Ulster Qualifying Division One table, only seven points behind third placed Cooke who arrive at Judges Road this Saturday with the Derry coach keen to see what progress his side has made.

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"Cooke will be a tough game. They are sitting third so it would be a good one to win," explained McCarter.

"They completely over ran us up in Belfast.We were really, really poor that day, giving them a head start on a couple of occasions. The game was more or less over at half-time. That result alone means there is absolutely no room for complacency and there won't be any because they played us off the park in the last game in all honesty.

"We know we are up against it but, having said that, we are certainly a better team and are currently playing better than we were for that first meeting. Hopefully we can take confidence from the last few outings we've had and give them a god rattle."

Stephen Corr, Simon Logue and Kane McColgan all missed last week's excellent win in Limavady but all three will be available this weekend, as will Gerard Doherty who made his long awaited return from injury last time out.

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"It was a good result and I had been a bit apprehensive going in because we hadn't the best preparation in terms of training," added McCarter, "We had a fair amount of illness in the camp and didn't even get naming the team until the Friday afternoon but we did well against Limavady.

"The manner of the victory was pleasing. We put a big emphasis on starting well because we didn't want to to become like the game at Judges Road when Limavady grew into the game and were leading at half-time. We ended up, not chasing the game, but putting a bit of pressure on ourselves.

"This time we did start pretty well and were 17-0 up at half-time and had butchered two or three good chances to extend that lead. The game should have been put to bed but it was a good start and then we produced a fairly dominant second half as well.

"It means we should be positve ahead of this weekend. It's a step up but we should be good to go. Gerard (Doherty) had a good game last week on his return and it's great to see him back. Selection is beginning to become tricky which is a good thing for us."