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Warm-up match has significance for Derry boss Brian McIver

By John Campbell

Derry manager Brian McIver had an opportunity to assess his Ulster Championship opponents Down when they met Roscommon in the Division Two league final last Sunday.

But while McIver is giving nothing away in relation to any conclusions he might have drawn from that exercise, he believes he will gain a further insight into his own resources when Derry confront Antrim in a challenge game to mark the official opening of the Loup club's impressive new facilities on Sunday.

Derry have been quietly preparing for the renewal of their rivalry with the Mournemen on June 7 since they finished their league campaign with a win over beaten finalists Cork.

The fact that they scored 2-8 in the second half of that game provides McIver with a ration of Championship encouragement even though his side had already been consigned to relegation.

"We put in some good performances in the league but did not quite get the results that we wanted. It all comes down to fine margins and particularly so in the Ulster Championship so we are very much on our toes for meeting Down," stresses McIver.

Antrim, meanwhile, could only cast envious eyes in the direction of Roscommon as John Evans' side strode imperiously into Division One of the Allianz League.

In beating Down in the Division Two final on Sunday, Roscommon not only underlined their skill and power but emphasised the gulf that exists between them.

Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimmons is understood to have drafted new players into his squad and some could get game time on Sunday as the focus turns to the Ulster Championship quarter-final against Fermanagh.

Antrim won the corresponding game at Brewster Park, Enniskillen last year in some style but Fermanagh have enjoyed a renaissance since then.

Belfast Telegraph


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