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Derry are aiming to build up more momentum, says boss McErlain

Marching on: Damian McErlain
Marching on: Damian McErlain
John Campbell

By John Campbell

When Derry lost to Tyrone in the Ulster Senior Football Championship six weeks ago, manager Damian McErlain did not allow defeat to cloud his aspirations of progress.

Instead, he acknowledged that there were positives to be taken from the setback and immediately focussed on the All-Ireland qualifiers.

In their first outing on their back door journey, Derry were comprehensive 4-6 to 0-10 winners over Wexford, and while that victory has nurtured further optimism, McErlain will ensure this does not morph into complacency.

Today, Derry face their second assignment in the qualifiers when Laois are visitors to Owenbeg (5pm), and McErlain has reiterated a message of caution to his side.

"The qualifiers are about momentum and the fact that we won our first game will hopefully provide us with the impetus to move on, but we're guaranteed nothing," he points out.

Laois beat Westmeath in the Leinster Championship before losing to Meath by 3-13 to 0-11 at the semi-final stage.

Meanwhile, Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson is hoping that Matthew Fitzpatrick and the Murray brothers, Conor and Ryan, in particular are up for battle against Kildare (3pm).

The trio played leading roles in the win over Louth in their opening qualifier and can lead the Saffrons' onslaught against the Kildare defence.

Antrim are likely to feel more at home on the tight confines of the Corrigan Park pitch and, although Kildare boss Cian O'Neill continues to express his faith in his side, defeat today could have serious repercussions for him.

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