Red Hands were too strong mentally and physically: Barton
Derry boss Damian Barton was left to reflect on what he described as a "mentally and physically draining experience" for his side against Tyrone yesterday.
Never one to seek refuge in excuses, Barton conceded that Tyrone's second-half performance had been too much for his side.
At one stage in the second-half Derry had pegged Tyrone's lead back to just three points and were playing with renewed vigour.
"I thought when we reached that point that we might push on but it wasn't to be," admitted Barton.
"Tyrone were able to bring players on who performed very well for them. It became more physically and mentally draining for us as the second-half wore on but the challenge now is to get ourselves right for the qualifiers.
"Our preparations for this game against Tyrone had gone well but we left ourselves with too much to do. They maybe got a few more handy frees than we did but at the end of the day they were the better team.
"We got a run in the qualifiers last year and we can only hope to repeat that but it's not going to be easy because of the overall competition there is about."
While he took some consolation from the fact that his side did not concede a goal and the fact that players like Ben McKinless and Niall Keenan impressed on their championship debuts, Barton was in no mood to dwell on other players who left his squad in recent months.
"I still believe it is an honour for players to get the chance to wear the county jersey and if they choose not to do so then that is their call," insists Barton. "But they are no use to us. We need players who are committed and these are the kind of men we need to have on board going into the qualifiers."
Barton's sentiments were echoed by skipper Enda Lynn whose herculean efforts to galvanise his side by personal example did not bear fruit.
"We have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down for the qualifiers," said Lynn. "I can't say what will happen over the next couple of weeks but we have to put our best foot forward."