Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Teamwork underpins Oak Leaf boys in final task

A sense of shared responsibility has underpinned Derry's journey into next Sunday's ESB All Ireland Minor football final against Galway at Croke Park (1.30).

But for what will be the biggest game in the players' careers to date, the Oak Leaf management hope that they can now all step up to the mark simultaneously.

In recent games, including the Ulster final against Tyrone, different Derry players have proved matchwinners while others have tended to live in their shadow.

But against a Galway side already installed as favourites to lift the title, Derry boss Niall Conway and his backup team know that nothing less than a concerted team effort will suffice.

In tandem with joint-coaches Michael McMullan and Killian Conlan, Conway already has Derry at concert pitch mentally and physically for a game that has the potential to provide the Oak Leaf county with a massive shot in the arm for the future.

McMullan, a driving force behind the thriving Slaughtneil club as well as being totally committed to the Derry cause, makes the point that the team can boast a spread of winners.

" Players like Lee Moore, Aidan Heron and Declan Mullan, for instance, have proved match-winners for us to date and that has been a cause for satisfaction.

"But against Galway we will need every player at full throttle if we are to have any chance," maintains McMullan.

In acknowledging Galway's fine performance against Kerry in their semi-fnal, he indicates that the westerners still managed to win that game even though the Kingdom tended to dominate at midfield for spells.

"This goes to show that even on more limited possession, Galway are capable of punishing you. There is no way that we can afford them any freedom.

"They have shown themselves to be a very accomplished side and they will undoubtedly have taken confidence from the victories they have chalked up to date especially that win over Kerry," says McMullan.

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