Saturday 1 October 2016

McIver claims criticism has done Derry 'world of good'

Published 03/06/2015 | 02:30

Brian McIver's Derry side face Down in Sunday’s Ulster quarter-final at home in Celtic Park
Brian McIver's Derry side face Down in Sunday’s Ulster quarter-final at home in Celtic Park

The fallout from their 'death of football' league game against Dublin in late March has done Derry "a world of good", their manager Brian McIver has claimed.

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Derry bore the brunt of criticism for the manner in which a game that finished 0-8 to 0-4 played out, prompting the chairman of the standing playing rules committee Jarlath Burns to describe it as the 'death of football'.

As Longford pick up the pieces from a 27-point defeat after giving Dublin an open invitation last Sunday, Derry are reaping benefits from their approach against the same opponents in Croke Park, according to McIver.

"All the criticism did nothing but reinforce our belief that we play the way we want and on any given day it's horses for courses," said McIver.

"We ended up taking the whole brunt of it and we said after that, whatever way we have to play we will suit ourselves.

"We would have accepted the criticism if we felt it was deserved but on that particular night it was totally undeserved," added McIver whose team face Down in Sunday's Ulster quarter-final at home in Celtic Park.

Retaining

"Anybody who looked at that game, nobody asked why were we going across the field with the ball? Why were we retaining possession? Because Dublin had learned their lesson from the Donegal game last year and set up, by and large, the same as ourselves.

"That's not a criticism of Dublin - Dublin this year in the league were a much more difficult side to play against because they learned their lesson from last year.

"By the same token, we learned our lesson from last year's league final. We went out against Dublin this time to ensure that in the last 10 minutes, we were still in the game.

"Had we taken a couple of chances, it was a game we could have won," he reflected.

"Go back to last year when we played Donegal in the championship. We got heavily criticised for not kicking the ball in, because we tried to retain possession and tried to run it.

"Then Monaghan supposedly learned from us and went out against Donegal and drove every ball in long and they got criticised for that," he pointed out.

Derry were relegated from Division 1 but took consolation from being able to strengthen their panel in the absence of so many players, including their Slaughtneil representatives who had an All-Ireland club final to prepare for during much of the league campaign.

"In a strange way having our hands tied with so many players unavailable to us, we have probably ended up with a stronger panel going than if we had everybody available to us."

Irish Independent

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