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Derry boss Cassidy keen to keep dual control

By John Campbell

Derry football manager Damian Cassidy will monitor the county hurling team’s progress in the National League which swung into action at the weekend.

Cassidy will be keen to ensure that Liam Hinphey comes through Sunday’s game against Wexford unscathed so he will be ready for the football showdown with Kerry on Sunday week in Tralee.

Hinphey was unable to line out for the Oak Leaf hurlers against Kerry last Sunday and is anxious to see action this weekend.

Derry have a tradition of fielding dual players and Cassidy is the latest managers to have to cope with this problem.

“Even when I was playing myself boys like the McKeever brothers Kieran and Emmett and Brian McGilligan were all good hurlers, but they still managed to win All Ireland medals as footballers with Derry in 1993,” said Cassidy.

“Players like Liam Hinphey and Mark Craig who are key members of our football set-up, but they are also required by hurling manager James O’Kane. Naturally, I am keen that they can avoid mishaps on Sunday as we need everyone on board on Sunday week.”

Hinphey, who has played against Tyrone and Dublin the National Football League to date, is expected to be included in Cassidy’s half-back division for the confrontation Kerry — who are still striving to come to terms with the retirement of midfield colossus Dara O Sé.

Indeed, no one is keener than Hinphey himself to see the Oak Leaf side flourish against Jack O’Connor’s side.

“This is a huge football test for Derry. Kerry are hurting at the moment and this means they could be doubly dangerous,” warns Hinphey.

While Cassidy tracks Hinphey’s hurling itinerary, Eoin Bradley will be back from suspension to face Kerry while his brother Paddy is expected to play some part from the bench.

Having met Kerry in the last two National League finals, the Oak Leaf men have more than a passing acquaintance with them. In the 2008 final, Derry overcame the Kingdom at Parnell Park, but lost last year’s decider.

Now the Kingdom are striving to come to terms with the loss of O Sé and goalkeeper Diarmuid Murphy through retirement and the departure of Tadgh Kennelly and Tommy Walsh to Australian Rules football.

Derry spokesman Sean Gunning believes Kerry can cop without O Sé.

“Kerry can boast a lot of good young players who are coming through and obviously they will be getting their chance now. They will be very keen to impress,” said Gunning.

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