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McBride urging Derry to write a final chapter


Perfect mix: Dermot McBride is happy with Derry's talent

Perfect mix: Dermot McBride is happy with Derry's talent

TONY HENDRON/Presseye.com

Perfect mix: Dermot McBride is happy with Derry's talent

The seven-year itch is certainly being felt by seasoned Derry defender Dermot McBride.

Having made his debut in 2009, the Ballinascreen clubman has tasted little in the way of success with a side that has invariably flattered to deceive.

Tomorrow, though, McBride is hoping to see the Oak Leaf side reach the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup final when they face Cavan at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh where victory would offer the possibility of a third meeting with arch-rivals Tyrone within a matter of weeks.

And the fact that the Red Hands have won the two meetings between the sides to date provides Damian Barton's side with a massive incentive.

But since unbeaten Cavan stand in the way of further Derry progress and a vibrant Fermanagh outfit are relishing the prospect of confronting a Tyrone outfit in hot pursuit of a fifth successive McKenna Cup crown, thoughts of the final have been put on hold.

McBride, a mainstay of the Derry defence in the competition to date, is aware that Cavan's lively attack, in which Niall McDermott, Christopher Conroy and Martin Reilly are looking particularly lively right now, can pose problems for his side.

"When you get to this stage you want to reach the final but Cavan have been looking impressive and will have taken confidence from their results to date," reflected McBride.

"Damian Barton has brought in some fresh talent and we have a good mix of players in there now with more boys to come back from their universities."

The carrot of perhaps facing Tyrone again should elicit a strong performance from his side against the Breffni men, though.

"We are due to play Tyrone in the league and in the Ulster Championship but we will wait and see what happens now in the McKenna Cup," said McBride.

Manager Barton has watched players such as Shane Heavron, Conor Kearns, Conor McAtamney, Neil Forester and Shane Mulgrew spring to the fore.

Experienced duo James Kielt and Mark Craig, along with the emerging Christopher Bradley, were among players who were introduced from the bench in the win over Queen's on Wednesday and who will be in contention for starting places tomorrow.

Derry have shown a capacity for amassing scores although not many sides land 4-6 and still lose out as was the case against Tyrone a week ago.

Barton said: "I was still happy enough in that we gave Tyrone a contest. It's good to be going into a semi-final tie now. We're warming up and the outing will be another big step in our preparation for the league.

"We've got a good deal out of the McKenna Cup so far and hopefully there is more to come."

McKenna Cup: Athletic Grounds, Armagh Sun 2.00pm

Belfast Telegraph