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Crozier keen to have final say for Derry

Paddy Crozier needs no reminding of precisely what happened on the last occasion when his Derry side faced Kerry.

That was in the early stages of the National League when the Oak Leaf side had a player harshly red-carded and were the victims of some bizarre refereeing decisions, particularly the awarding of a late, late free from which Bryan Sheehan scored the winning point for the Kingdom.

Perhaps Crozier did not quite expect to be afforded the opportunity to renew his rivalry with the All Ireland champions so soon but that's what will happen on Sunday when the sides square up in the National League Final at Parnell Park, Dublin (2.15pm).

He may have injury worries - James Conway and Enda Muldoon are rated doubtful - but Crozier remains upbeat as his team focus on gaining a substantial measure of revenge for that early setback in the competition.

"We had been going well up until then and although we were gutted to lose in the manner in which we did, I feel we have shown a lot of character since then.

"The fact that we are now in the final is indicative of the spirit and resilience within this Derry side and they certainly won't be fazed by this challenge," maintains Crozier.

Should Conway not make the cut, then Joe Diver, who has been employed as a substitute on occasions duringt he league, will come in to partner Fergal Doherty.

And Dungiven's Paul Murphy is apparently on standby should Muldoon be ruled out.

Kerry manager Pat O'Shea may avail of the services of Colm Cooper, recently returned from the US, for this match but several players who have been given their chance in the league have impressed to date.

Crozier stresses that whatever side Kerry will put out, his team will face a huge task.

"There is plenty of ompetition for places in Kerry right now. We know this and we must be prepared for it," adds Crozier.

Derry's consistency, scoring power and strength in depth have served them well to date but Crozier acknowledges that Kerry would view a National League triumph as the ideal aperitif for what would be a third All Ireland title on the trot.

"They certainly have a lot to play for but so too have we. We are due to play Donegal in the Ulster Championship and obviously it would be a great boost if we could land this league title. That would certainly lift the squad," says Crozier.

Belfast Telegraph


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