Principal McMaster sets his sights on taming the Students

Chris Barber returns to the City of Derry squad for this weekend's AIL clash with Queen's.
Chris Barber returns to the City of Derry squad for this weekend's AIL clash with Queen's.

City of Derry head coach Terry McMaster insists momentum is with his side as they enter the business end of the All Ireland League season.

Since his appointment last month the Judges Road men have started to build up a head of steam and McMaster is looking for that run to continue as the season starts to draw to a close.

This weekend it’s AIL Division 2A action again with fellow Ulster men Queen’s coming to Judges Road, on Saturday (KO 2.30pm).

“We have momentum and we hope to keep it going on Saturday against Queens,” he said.

“There are only five games left and the ironic thing was we won at Naas last weekend but we dropped a place in the league table, because of the way other results went.

“But there’s a glut of about five teams who are separated by one point, so yes we are in the business end of things and the team that gets results this weekend will shoot up the table . It will be a completely different landscape come Saturday evening.

“Queen’s are sitting fourth or fifth in the league and if we were to beat them with a bonus point victory on Saturday, we would be right beside them, so that shows the fine margins that there are in the AIL Division 2A.

“But we just have to try and maintain our position in that league for next year. That’s our target at the minute and we aren’t thinking about anything else, we are just trying to finish in that top ten.”

McMaster, who has a fully fit squad to select from, also admits that the Students will cause his side all sorts of problems. “I know them pretty well because my son played for them for four years and he only left around April/May of last year, so I know there team pretty well and I know the way they play, so that will be an advantage,” he said.

“But they’ll be a surprise package with them because they do things that no other team do. They tend to take chances because that’s part of their culture, as university rugby is about trying things, so we’ll need to be very wary of what we are going to come up against.

“Yes we’ll be confident, but not overly confident, we know what we are capable of and we have had five good weeks since I have come in and we have good structures in place, the guys have bought into it.

“Our defensive record has improved dramatically and that had to improve and we have kind of stopped leaking tries.

“It’s a home game and every club in the country targets their home games and we are no different and we have a full complement of players to pick from.

“Chris Barber, Stephen Ferguson and David Ferguson are back available this weekend, it doesn’t mean they are going to start, but they are available for selection and it gives us a good depth to 
our squad, which we really haven’t had since I have come back.”