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One Croke trip won't satisfy Derry star Benny Heron

By Declan Bogue

Dedicated, smart and unselfish, roving forward Benny Heron is as good an example as you can get for the prototype Derry footballer at the present time.

On Sunday last he was on the ball more than any other player on the park in their impressive victory over Kildare and his game-awareness was from the top drawer.

From the first minute, he drifted out wide to the wing to pick up a Thomas Mallon kickout played into space. That move ended with Emmett McGuckin blazing over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Throughout the game he picked up several kickouts using this set play. He set up Cailean O'Boyle's goal with a clever flick, drilled over a '45', hit one from play himself and orchestrated an Enda Lynn point.

Yet, he played down his performance in securing all those restarts once he emerged from the dressing room at Celtic Park.

"To be honest, it is not very difficult. If the space is there you make the run and Thomas' kick-outs are that accurate he will pick you out," said the 24-year-old Ballinascreen man.

"You're always confident that if you do make that hard run, he'll pick you out. Maybe today, I got on a few more handier than in previous games. The space was just there for some reason and it worked well for us."

With Derry bound for a league semi-final – barring a miracle in their last game against Mayo –-Heron is aware that there is more ground to cover to win those kind of balls in Dublin 3.

"Hopefully there will be space there too that Thomas can hit," he said.

"It will be a good experience to get back to Croke Park; we played once there last year and we were disappointed that we didn't get to play it more than once. We are looking forward to it."

Heron acknowledges that Derry have been something of a surprise package, after two years in the relative wilderness of Division Two, coming strong now to top the Division One table along with Cork.

"No many people would have expected Derry to reach the semi-finals after coming up," said Heron.

"A lot of teams struggle because there is a difference from Division Two, but everyone is working really, really hard and taking it game after game.

"We aren't really looking ahead. Each week we are looking at the next team and what we can do and we have been getting the results.

"There is good belief there too. We have the ability, we just need to match it with work-rate and intensity and hopefully we can get the results."

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