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Brian McIver positive of Derry's strength in reserve

By John Campbell

Derry manager Brian McIver bristles at the suggestion he will be fielding a shadow team against Mayo in tomorrow's round seven Allianz Football League Division One fixture at Castlebar.

Household names may be conspicuous by their absence with other established first-choice players not figuring in the line-up, but McIver dismisses the notion that Derry are treating the match with anything other than the utmost seriousness.

"Certainly there are a number of players missing but we have boys in there who are very keen to show what they can do," insists McIver. "They are part of the squad and as such deserve to be treated with respect. We are going in against a Mayo side that have a lot to play for and while we have our focus on the league semi-finals, it's important that we continue to rack up wins."

Derry have sent out a strong signal over the course of the past fortnight that they could emerge as a strong championship force.

Wins over Kildare and Dublin have cemented the strong bond within McIver's squad and now that players who have not been getting regular games are being asked to step up to the plate, McIver is confident that his strength in depth will be demonstrated.

"I think this Derry side will be keen to prove themselves against a Mayo outfit that is moving well just now," stresses McIver.

Emmet McGuckin switches from full-forward to midfield and is the only player to retain a starting slot from last weekend's win over Kildare.

McGuckin will emerge with Coleraine clubman Niall Holly in the engine-room while Aaron Devlin, Daniel Heavron and Carlus McWilliams form a half-forward division that looks full of promise.

Charlie Kielt will take over the skipper's job from Mark Lynch and will marshal a defence that includes Mark Craig and the emerging Oisin Duffy, who has been impressive in his appearances in the county jersey.

Mayo need to win to remain in the frame for a semi-final place and this could add a distinct edge to a game that could follow the recent trend of morphing into a high-scoring encounter.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph