Devlin counting on Ballinderry's experience
Collie Devlin is one of a number of Ballinderry players who spent several seasons soldiering in the colours of Derry and is now discovering that the experience gained at inter-county level is proving a bulwark in his club's drive for All-Ireland glory.
Sharpshooter Devlin, whose three points from frees in the third quarter effectively turned the tide in Ballinderry's favour against Kilcoo, believes that the battle-hardened corps within the squad can plot the route to success over Kingdom Kerry Gaels tomorrow and then bring their influence to bear in the semi-finals.
"We have boys like Kevin McGuckin, Conleith Gilligan, Raymond Williamson Enda Muldoon and Martin Harney who have worn the Derry jersey in the past and they are wielding a big influence in the side," states Devlin.
"They give a great lead that the rest of us can follow."
Devlin modestly omits to mention the crucial part he is playing in a side that has diced with danger in their championship run to date but still are among the short-odds teams to lift the Andy Merrigan Cup.
"We have had some difficult matches along the line," reflects Devlin. "The Derry championship is one of the most competitive in the province and we were put to the pin of our collar more than once. There were games that we were happy to get over the line."
In the Ulster final win over Donegal champions Glenswilly, the Ballinderry attacking machinery operated at full throttle with old hands Gilligan and Muldoon once again proving their worth.
And while Ballinderry appear to have no injury worries, Devlin and his colleagues will not allow themselves to be lured into complacency following revelations that Kingdom Kerry Gaels manager Noel Dunning may have to select from a depleted squad.
"Other years you would be complaining you haven't got games at this time of the year and now that we have games we're picking up injuries. You can't win!" he said.