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Derry wary of Durcan's accuracy with boot

By John Campbell

Derry manager Brian McIver has warned his side that Donegal's kick-outs could prove a central tenet of their attacking strategy when the teams meet in the Ulster Championship at Celtic Park on Sunday.

McIver, himself a former Donegal manager, is well acquainted with the pedigree of many of Jim McGuinness's players but clearly has a special regard for long-serving goalkeeper Paul Durcan.

"Paul is superb in terms of camouflaging his kick-outs. This is an art he has perfected in much the same way that Dublin's Stephen Cluxton has," says McIver.

"Their kick-outs are absolutely excellent. Paul could hit the ball 60 yards to maybe Christy Toye one minute and the next he could be finding Odhran MacNiallais with a kick close to the touchline or maybe pinging a ball straight through the centre to Michael Murphy.".

Durcan's ability to vary his kick-outs and thus reinforce Donegal's attacking armoury prompts McIver to instil in his side an awareness that they must not switch off at any stage in the game.

"It's absolutely vital that we maintain our concentration otherwise we are going to pay a heavy penalty," states McIver.

"We are aware that in three matches recently Donegal still managed to come up with three different variations on their kick-outs and that shows you how thorough they are in terms of their preparation. They will come to Celtic Park well armed, you can be sure of that."

McIver also underlined the importance of finding the net.

"In the league final against Dublin we created five or six goal chances that we did not take. That would be a worry for me," insists McIver.

Five goals were scored in the Tyrone v Down Championship opener on Sunday, the Mourne men finding the net three times.

"We all saw on Sunday how a goal can give a side a lift. Maybe in some cases that lift is only temporary but it is a lift nonetheless. It's how a team builds on such a breakthrough that is most important," states McIver.

Belfast Telegraph

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