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Derry are battling to restore their wounded pride

By John Campbell

Derry manager Brian McIver is urging his side to come out fighting against pacesetters Cork in Sunday's National League tie after a week in which he has fended off strong criticism of the tactics against Dublin last weekend.

A dour, turgid encounter in which defences dominated was subsequently labelled as "the death of gaelic football" by new Standing Rules Committee chairman Jarlath Burns but McIver believes that his team can be shown in a much better light in what is their last game in Division One and has been switched from Celtic Park to Owenbeg.

They may be already demoted but McIver is anxious to see the Oak Leaf regain a modicum of pride in advance of their Ulster Championship clash with Down.

Cork are already through to the semi-finals but have not been particularly convincing.

Derry's 0-8 to 0-4 eclipse by Dublin underlined their capacity to restrict opponents but on Sunday McIver expects his team to unleash their attacking skills.

"We didn't just go out to park the bus against Dublin but the way they set themselves up left it like a game of chess," states McIver.

"We wanted to play an offensive game but that didn't happen

"It's not the way I want to see football played but we didn't have too many choices."

McIver is optimistic Enda Lynn, Benny Heron and James Kielt can step up to the mark in attack while skipper Mark Lynch can again prove a driving force.

With Fergal Doherty back and Emmet Bradley in fine form, McIver is cautiously optimistic.

County board spokesman Dermot McPeake is calling on fans to rally round the team.

"You could not fault the players' application and attitude throughout the league," says McPeake.

DERRY: E McNicholl; O Duffy, N Holly, K Johnston; L McGoldrick, C McAtamney, M McIver; M Lynch, F Doherty; S L McGoldrick, D Heavron, E Lynn; B Heron, T O'Brien, J Kielt

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