Cassidy has his men fired up for Kerry clash
Derry have come out second best in three of their last four meetings with Kerry and that, manager Damian Cassidy feels, will provide the perfect incentive for his side to trim the Kingdom’s sails when the sides clash once again in an important NFL Division One tie at Tralee on Sunday.
“Kerry beat us twice in the league last year, the first time in our scheduled meeting at Bellaghy and then in the final at Croke Park. The previous year they beat us on their own patch but we got the better of them in the final at Parnell Park so you could say that we have a point to make this Sunday,” observes Cassidy.
The Oak Leaf boss, perturbed at the manner in which his attack spurned chances when going under to Dublin in their last outing, is urging a greater spread of scorers against the All Ireland champions.
The anticipated return of Raymond Wilkinson, who played against Tyrone but missed the game against Dublin, and Declan Mullan to the attack to complement the penetration that Eoin Bradley will bring back to the table now that his suspension is due to end offers Cassidy encouragement as he focuses on what he views as a crucial contest in terms of his team-building operation.
“We still have players out unfortunately but with Raymond and Declan about to return and Kevin McGuckin fully recovered we now have added options and this is something you certainly need when you are going in against Kerry, particularly a Kerry side that is hurting badly after two defeats in the league so far,” points out Cassidy.
Mark Lynch played at centre-half-back against the Dubs but could find himself promoted to the attack although Cassidy may yet prefer to keep Barry McGoldrick on the substitutes’ bench given that he only returned from Australia on Thursday last.
But the Kielt brothers Charlie and James look certain starters following the impressive form they have been showing lately while skipper Gerard O’Kane is likely to be asked to again fill the full-back berth again even though he is normally more comfortable at corner-back or wing-back.
Kerry’s losses to Cork and Dublin so far have already led to fears that relegation could be on the horizon although manager Jack O’Connor is remaining calm.
He will be missing an experienced platoon of players for Derry’s visit but insists that the incentive of copper-fastening places in the side will provide his new recruits with the challenge to rise to the occasion.