City of Derry coach Richard McCarter believes the club must look at “the bigger picture” as it deals with the aftermath of relegation to All Ireland League Division 2C.
A 15-8 defeat against Sunday’s Well on Saturday confirmed the drop and capped a miserable campaign for the Judges Road men whose young side has struggled to compete on the All Ireland stage this term. Derry have been unable to replace a raft of experienced players that have departed over the past couple of years but according to McCarter, the rebuilding job must start now.
“The whole club from top to bottom probably needs a shake up but I leave that to the committee to decide,” explained McCarter
“From a playing point of view, we have very little strength in depth this year so we need to get as many players in as we can and get them training so we are all singing off the same hymn sheet.
“We said before the game we wanted to finish our three games with a win so we can finish the season with some positivity so we can have some enthusiasm going into the off season.
“We need on hit the ground running in pre-season. It seems a long way off at this stage but that’s how we have to look at it now. There is a bigger picture. It is not just about getting relegated this season, it is about what we do in the next two or three years to bounce back from this.
“Things might not happen immediately for us but if we stick together and recruit a few players you never know what can happen in two or three years.”
A difficult season has seen McCarter and Head Coach Trevor Will have to turn to young players with little or no AIL experience but McCarter believes those players will be stronger for what they have been though.
“It is tough. The boys aren’t stupid,” added McCarter, “They have been playing every week and it can be demoralising for them but the majority of them are back out midweek when they would probably rather not be in the circumstances but that’s a sign of a strong mentality that has developed throughout the year. I would say these players will be a lot stronger mentally this time next year.
“We have had to go from game to game, there’s been little pressure on us this last few games because relegation has been inevitable but on Saturday we put a bit of pressure on the boys to get a win and not just get a few 15 or 20 minute spells.
“It’s swings and roundabout. We have had plenty of memorable days in the Derry jersey over the past seven or eight years but this has been a really, really tough one that no one will forget easily but hopefully we can rebuild and in another seven or eight years we won’t be in this position again.”
Saturday’s result may have been disappointing but the performance offered reasons for optimism with young players like Conall Gill and Kyle Henderson showing they can become the future of the club.
“There has been an air of inevitability about relegation for - not even weeks - months to be fair but we said we would fight right to the death. We had three games to go and we wanted to win all three and on another day, had we taken our chances at the beginning of the second half, it might have been a different outcome today but over all, Saturday was a much better performance.
“Defensively we were much better and it was great to see the young lads doing well, lads like Conall Gill coming in an No. 10 which is a pressure position but he stood out and played well.
“There are lots and lots of positives. It is maybe a monkey off our backs, so to speak, that we are down now but we have two games to go and we want to finish on as much of a high as is possible in our situation.”