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Mayo tactics lead McIver's son to call for black card clarification

Declan Bogue

Unable to attend the post-match briefing at Croke Park, Derry manager Brian McIver sent his son Paul – a team selector – along instead to handle the questions.

Brian was serving a months' suspension arising out of events in their match against Cork, and as Paul explained: "He was shouting from the top of the Hogan Stand, he has lost his voice at this stage."

McIver won't be on the touchline come the league final against Dublin on April 27 either, but still, his son articulated the mood in the dressing room after this gutsy win.

"Delighted! Especially down to 14 men to the second-best team in Ireland, the boys showed great character.

"But they know the standard management have set and where they have to reach. They are gradually getting there with every performance."

A feature of the game was the amount of times Mayo would resort to wrapping their arms around a Derry forward and doing enough to concede a foul, but not trigger a black card.

It is clearly going to be a feature of the summers' post-match analysis.

McIver raised some eyebrows when he claimed: "We looked at the stats at half-time and Enda Lynn had been fouled personally, 12 or 13 times in the first half.

"There were a number of times Kevin Johnston was going through and was taken out and nothing was given.

"Look, it's there to be clarified before the Championship starts."

Mayo manager James Horan has had some experience in articulating sickening defeats and this was just the latest one.

He looked uncomfortable and a man on the verge of making fundamental changes as he said: "It's a very disappointing performance from us and one we'll have to analyse very seriously; the whole lot of us as a group.

"Because we weren't good today, right through, so we need to have a look at everything in depth."

He also broached the awkwardness of failing to beat two teams in the league – namely Dublin and Derry – despite having a numerical advantage.

"Yeah, every game is different as well as every scenario. Derry played very defensive today so we utilised the man where we thought it was best.

"But when your work-rate is off, your work-rate is off."

Making finals is one thing for Derry, but McIver does not seem concerned that they will be playing the league final against Dublin under the glare of the nation while Donegal are currently lying low in Portugal.

"We can't look towards tomorrow, we just have to play it like it is.

"The young lads are getting great experience in Croke Park, where you would hope that by the end of the year in some way or another we will be back again.

"We know that the bigger picture is in five weeks' time, the players are very aware of that, but you can only play what is in front of you at the minute."

Yet their rhetoric has a distinctly Donegal flavour when McIver is asked if survival in Division One was their initial aim.

"We never mentioned the word survival. This bunch of players have never mentioned that. Our target was to be the best we can be on any given day."

Nor was he accepting that a league final represents a level of over-achievement either.

"Over achieved? I wouldn't say that we have over-achieved.

"We are just going about our business the way we want to go. You in the media might think we have over-achieved.

"But we set ourselves targets that we want to reach and we are getting there."

Belfast Telegraph


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