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Derry focus on sinking Cork

By John Campbell

Not so long ago a Derry team without the gifted Bradley brothers Paddy and Eoin forming a twin-pronged attack force would have been deemed unthinkable.

But then time waits for no man. While Paddy is currently assisting his father Liam in his role as Antrim team boss, Eoin is successfully plying a different trade with Coleraine FC.

Life of course goes on for Derry and is made much more tolerable by the fact that Brian McIver's side are currently within touching distance of a place in the Allianz League semi-finals.

If the Bradley duo is conspicuous by their absence, then it can be safely said that Caolan O'Boyle and Emmett McGuckin have stepped up to the plate.

Manager McIver is known to have initially harboured apprehension when plumping for his new-look inside line formation but five points from a possible six fully vindicate what was initially viewed as a bold gamble as his side prepare for their biggest test of the season to date against unbeaten Cork on Sunday.

With Ballinderry trio Ryan Bell, Gareth McKinless and Aaron Devlin on standby for duty, Gerard O'Kane's foot injury understood to be not quite as serious as first thought and Aidan McAlynn clearly relishing more game time, McIver is set to deal from an enriched pack as he fixes his sights on Cork.

The combined physical presence of O'Boyle and McGuckin and their aerial ability will ensure that the Cork rearguard are kept on their toes.

Both players have taken time to bed down in the side – O'Boyle played for UUJ in the Power NI McKenna Cup – but their thirst for the ball and penchant for pirating goals are serving Derry well.

But they cannot take their selection for granted.

"We are fortunate at the minute in that we have players chomping at the bit for places in the side and that's the way we want to keep it," said manager McIver.

"This is a top of the table clash against Cork on Sunday and we are going there with every intention of winning. We would be very keen to win the league of course and benefit from the extra matches that would come our way in achieving this.

"But for the moment our total focus is on Cork."

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