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Derry manager McIver is upbeat despite injury setbacks

By John Campbell

Derry manager Brian McIver is tasked with overhauling his half-back line for the forthcoming All-Ireland qualifier against Wexford now that Kevin Johnston and Ciaran McFaul are likely to miss the Celtic Park tie.

Johnston was carried off in the closing stages of Saturday's Ulster Championship semi-final defeat to Donegal with a knee injury while McFaul played for the greater part of the game with a broken hand.

McIver, disappointed at the manner in which his side were unable to contain Donegal in the closing stages, nonetheless believes that his team's spirit and cohesion can stand them in good stead against a Wexford side that will travel north considerably boosted by their unexpected win over Down at the weekend.

"Kevin has had a scan on his knee and we are still awaiting the detailed result of this while Ciaran showed a lot of courage in playing on despite his hand injury. He scored our last point and epitomised the spirit of the team," stated McIver.

"You would have to say that it was maybe more a case of us losing the game rather than Donegal winning it. We missed chances that we might otherwise have taken but I must say that the team put in a huge effort."

In the build-up to the game, not many people felt that Derry would have been within two points of their opponents at the final whistle.

"The fact of the matter is that Donegal took their chances while we missed some of ours," added McIver. "If we can learn from this and put it into practice against Wexford, then maybe we can move on from there. If I get the same amount of commitment the next day out then I think that could pay dividends for us."

While the injuries to Johnston and McFaul understandably preoccupy McIver's thoughts right now, he is far from being engulfed in gloom.

Liam McGoldrick made an impact when he went on as a substitute in the 48th minute on Saturday and could clinch a starting place against Wexford while Emmet Bradley and Michael McIver are approaching full fitness with Patsy Bradley back in training.

Derry are unlikely to be afflicted by the individual errors which allowed Donegal to accumulate 1-3 from poor kick-outs, a statistic that will be underlined in advance of the Wexford tie.

Wexford manager David Power is at pains to keep his players' feet on the ground following their win over Down.

"We are not getting carried away. Derry will be a massive challenge but these are the kind of matches you expect at this stage," said Power.

Belfast Telegraph


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