Derry aim to grab chance
If Derry's championship campaign last year proved a particularly galling experience, then the hurt was felt more than most by Kevin McCloy.
The affable full-back did not have one of his best seasons in the Oak Leaf jersey when his team fell to Fermanagh in the Ulster championship semi-final and then surrendered to Monaghan in the All Ireland qualifiers.
But the Lavey clubman has already shown this term that he is back to his best and now he's hoping that Derry can repeat their Ulster Championship win of last season over Donegal when the sides renew their rivalry at Ballybofey tomorrow night (7.00pm) in the All Ireland qualifiers.
McCloy in fact skippered Derry to their 1-14 to 1-12 victory last summer in which Paddy Bradley, man of the match in last Saturday's win over Monaghan, helped himself to 10 points.
“Donegal are always very hard to beat up there in Ballybofey.
“I know people are saying that they did not look that great in overcoming Carlow and Clare so far in the qualifiers but we know that they will raise their game for us.
“They have turned the corner and won't want to go backwards,” warns McCloy, a civil engineer.
He imposed himself to such an extent against the Farney county last weekend that he was able to compensate for minor deficiencies in the Derry defence but insists that as a unit they are fired up for tomorrow's challenge.
“To get into the fourth round of the qualifiers means that any side is then involved in the real business end of the championship.
“You would only be one step away from the quarter-finals.
“Maybe people don't see us getting that far after the way we played against Tyrone in the Ulster semi-final but we showed against Monaghan that we can still play a bit.
“It will take an even better performance, though, to beat Donegal, we know that,” admits McCloy.