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Derry Under-21 boss McIver's taking absences on the chin

By Declan Bogue

Ask Derry under-21 manager Paul McIver about the raft of players unavailable to him for this Wednesday's Ulster U-21 Championship preliminary tie against Down and he will venture the theory that Derry are victims of their own success at club level.

He has some strong evidence to support his views.

When they take to the Celtic Park pitch, they will be without Slaughtneil trio Cormac O'Doherty, Gerard Bradley and Brendan Rogers who are bidding to achieve ultimate glory on St Patrick's Day against Corofin in Croke Park.

And late last month, the latest Ulster triumph for Maghera club Watty Graham's, Glen, came at a heavy cost.

"Ciaran McFaul is out for the under-21 Championship," confirmed McIver.

"He is going to be a big miss. He hurt himself playing for Glen in the Ulster final after 10 minutes and made it worse by playing on."

They will also be without Conor Carville who picked up a knock in the same game while Conor Glass was not burdened with yet more football.

The only Glen player will be, Danny Tallon and McIver said, "Glen and Slaughtneil are getting the best kind of football possible at the moment.

"It's just a pity the Under-21s comes in the middle of it and it has robbed us of a few players, but the 21s is all about developing players for senior level. We are not taking our eye off that."

A virtual injury epidemic that has torn through the Derry senior panel this year has meant that McIver the under-21 manager has had his charges training alongside his father Brian's senior players to make a proper training panel.

Referring to Derry's weekend loss to Mayo, Paul continued, "The fact that they have been training with the senior panel, Fergal Doherty and these boys, they see what level they have to get training at to be the best. Where else are they going to get that experience?"

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