Ulster SFC: ‘I have to accept responsibility’ says Damian Barton

Manager suggests Derry were not emotionally ready for game against Tyrone

Change only comes when willingness exists to enact it. With that in mind, Derry are going nowhere in a hurry. They have two rounds of club championship this week. Wednesday and Sunday. Same mistakes, over and over again.

"I have to accept responsibility," Derry manager Damian Barton began by way of explanation. "Emotionally it didn't look like we were prepared for the occasion or indeed the contest.

“We were well beaten. Beaten everywhere on the pitch.

“Losing any game is devastating. I think the manner in which we lost it is even more confusing.”


Barton is the member of the 1993 invincibles charged with figuring a path back to the top table. After this thumping at their home in Celtic Park they have never looked so far off the elite footballing counties.

“It is my job to make sure people are in the right place,” Barton continued, heaping responsibility on his own shoulders despite the inept showing of his players. “Quite obviously that job wasn’t done too well today. We were well beaten. Eleven points in it at half-time, I mean, what do you play for in the second half? A wee bit of pride perhaps.”

Beggared belief

Such comments from Barton, in his first season as Derry manager, would hardly inspire confidence from inside or outside the panel. The lack of a sweeper against a team that had flooded past them on four previous occasions this season beggared belief.

“As a championship contest it wasn’t a contest,” Barton went on. “Not since the third goal went in.”

Maybe Tyrone are simply a far superior team coached by a man who has been at the helm since 2003. Maybe it's that simple.

“Most team goes forward in waves and numbers. Tyrone were doing something we thought we could do but didn’t do. We made it very easy for them. They suffocated a few of our attacks. We attacked down the centre, which is where they play one to two sweepers.

“We made it easy for them. We didn’t stretch them, we didn’t get inside them and we didn’t even play an early ball inside at times when their sweeper had got back. We didn’t give our inside line anything to work with. We didn’t have those runners coming of the shoulder getting into that dangerous area.

“So it was a bad day for us. We were too static. Around the 45 we went sideways.”

Considering May 22nd would have been pencilled in the diary since pre-season as the day Derry needed to perform, how come they did not?

“I don’t know,” Barton answered. “That’s something we have to sit down and figure out. Obviously we have to look at whether we were emotionally ready for the game. I thought we looked tired at times.

Whole package

“I have to accept responsibility for the whole package.

“I thought our leaders on the pitch today didn’t stand up, from the youngest to the oldest, but that’s where we are.

“Over previous years we don’t take the qualifiers that serious but in terms of development we’ve got to move on.”

Another major problem now is Derry have probably lost their captain Chrissy McKaigue for the first round of the qualifiers after a straight red card following an incident with Colm Cavanagh in the 67th minute.

“I thought it was very harsh,” said Barton. “Chrissy put up his arm and tells me Colm walked into it. I am not lamenting because we were well and truly beat but someone told me once whenever you trip someone you are black carded.

“I think Colm made a great attempt at tripping Gareth McKinless. I am not complaining.


“It’s just quite bizarre the ease some teams get frees as opposed to others.

“Certainly I don’t think [referee David Coldrick] did us any favours.”

So Derry will appeal the McKaigue sending off? “We will appeal it. My God. If he struck with his elbow, then he deserved to be sent off but I need to have a look at it.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent