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Fans will be key in quest to dethrone Red Hands, says Lynn

 

By John Campbell

Derry will seek a big input from what county board spokesman Conor Nicholl refers to as "our 16th man" when they face Tyrone in the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday.

The support which the Oak Leaf side generated throughout the course of the recent Allianz League could only be described as lukewarm at best, and now Nicholl is urging fans to come out in their thousands and get behind the side in what is their biggest match of the year to date.

Derry have failed to maximise home advantage in some recent outings, never more so than in last year's Ulster Championship clash with Mickey Harte's side when they were chasing the game from an early stage after conceding a brace of early goals.

"I think the important thing is that we must now put the league behind us. It is absolutely vital that the fans row in behind the side because, although we may have suffered relegation in the league, this should not be allowed to disguise the fact that this panel of players have worked very hard since the start of the year. The fans can be our 16th man," maintained Nicholl.

His call is echoed by team captain Enda Lynn. The long-serving forward has tasted considerable disappointment at Ulster Championship level - the Ulster crown has not been won since 1998, after all - and is now particularly keen to see the side make a significant impact in the flagship competition.

"I think our supporters have a big part to play and I hope they make their voices heard," said the Greenlough clubman.

"Obviously as reigning Ulster champions Tyrone are going to be favourites, but with the full-throated backing of our own fans I think we are capable of rising to the occasion.

"An Ulster semi-final meeting with Donegal is on the menu for the winners and that would certainly be quite something from our perspective, although Tyrone will surely have their sights very much fixed on retaining the trophy. It should be quite a game no matter how you look at it."

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