Derry manager Damian Cassidy can scarcely believe his good fortune.
In his first season at the managerial helm the Oak Leaf men are back in the Allianz League decider on Sunday week. Cassidy has been able to ring the changes during the league and still clock up sufficient points for a second successive league appearance.
Despite losing difficult matches against both All Ireland champions Tyrone and Kerry, his side’s victory over old adversaries Donegal last Sunday was enough to set up a second tilt at Kerry. From the moment he took over the managerial reins, the Bellaghy man showed a total disregard for what players may have achieved in the past.
“The whole idea during the league was to develop the strength of the squad and I believe we’ve gone some way towards achieving that,” said Cassidy.
“Our whole focus in on the championship and our meeting with Monaghan and the league final with Kerry is more or less another stepping stone along the way.”
Under Paddy Crozier, Derry appeared to be making progress, but then the wheels came off in some style when losing to surprise packets Fermanagh in the championship.
Defeat to Monaghan in the qualifiers then effectively ended their season as well as marking the beginning of the end for Crozier.