Derry adamant they haven’t over-achieved
“These boys are good players. The talent has always been there in Derry” – selector Paul McIver
Mayo’s Colm Boyle shows his disappointment after their Allianz Football League Division One semi-final defeat against Derry at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
With Brian McIver serving a touchline ban, son Paul was on press duty for Derry after the game – not that there was any noticeable drop in verve or chirp for the switch.
When it was suggested by one of us lowest of the low media types that maybe Derry have over-achieved here given they were playing in Division Two 12 months ago, McIver Junior’s hackles weren’t long rising.
“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.
“The first thing is, these boys are good players. The talent has always been in Derry. I know the media over the last week have all said that this Derry team doesn’t have the capabilities of past Derry teams. We would argue that we have a load of players with a lot of All-Ireland minor experience, a lot of Hogan experience. Chrissy McKaigue played in Australia, represented Ireland. We have some fantastic players.
“We don’t see that we have made a massive step. We’re just setting targets and setting levels that we want to achieve and we want to get to and that’s the way these boys are progressing.
“We were annoyed that people said that we sent a second string down to Mayo last week.
“We don’t have a second string. This is a panel of players. Every single one of them is equally as good. We found it a wee bit disrespectful to the rest of the players.
“If you look at the team that finished, a lot of the boys who played against Mayo were playing. That is the strength of this Derry team, we have a serious panel of players.”
James Horan looked particularly downcast when he came in. He held his hands up – Mayo were outplayed. No quibbles with the result, only with the display his team had given.
“Derry were very good. They came very strong at the end and if they’d kept going they would have pulled away by more.
“The best of luck to them it’s good to see a team coming through like that. They’re young and hungry and absolutely deserved the win.
“Our work-rate and preparation must have been a little bit off today because we were flat in a number of things so we need to have a serious review.”
How to explain the flatness though? Had Mayo overtrained?
“Ah, we’re training heavy but we looked flat today,” said Horan. “It’s not training that would have players that flat.
“Maybe our prep was off so we need to look at what we’re doing and trying to do. We need to correct this and quickly but we will, we will.”