CITY OF DERRY: Decision making will be key for Derry men

Andrew Semple returns to the City of Derry squad for this weekend's trip to Armagh.
Andrew Semple returns to the City of Derry squad for this weekend's trip to Armagh.

City of Derry coach Terry McMaster is confident his players will get their AIL Division 2B title campaign back on track this weekend.

The Judges Road men travel Armagh as they look to get back to winning ways after losing their previous two AIL games against Greystones and Dungannon.

“We need to get back on the horse again and no better time than this Saturday, at Armagh,” he said.

“Yes it’s an Ulster derby but you don’t need any motivation for Ulster derbies, the motivation is exactly what that is because it’s a derby.”

McMaster believes that the returning Andrew Semple from injury will give his squad a boost.

“A plus for us is that Andy Semple is back, he has missed the last four games, he took a knock against Highfield, so him coming back is massive boost to us and we have a full complement to choose from.

“Some of the guys who travel over the likes of David Funston and David Graham, who travel from England, they are off on half-term so they are here all week, which will be good for training.”

McMaster admits he enjoys the surroundings at Armagh’s Palace Grounds, but he will also be looking for some leaders in his side this weekend.

Only a few weeks ago in their last outing, which saw them narrowly lose 9-7 to Dungannon they missed a host of chances to win the game because of bad decision making, which he doesn’t expect to happen again.

“I have always liked playing at the Palace Grounds and I have also liked coaching there because it’s enclosed by a walled garden, so it’s not as exposed as some other grounds,” he said.

“We are just hoping we get a bit of decent weather because the day we played Dungannon, you couldn’t play rugby, it was a toss of the coin that day.

“Now in saying that we missed seven chances to win the game against Dungannon and that’s unforgiveable, we missed four kicks and you can’t blame your kicker (Neil Burns) because he has won games for us this year, but we turned three penalties down as well, one in front of the posts and two scrum penalties and we needed to get our noses in front in a day like it was a few weeks ago.

“We will learn from it because they were wrong decisions that day in terms of how you close a game out, on a day like that but we’ll talk about it this week, as I was disappointed by the decisions that were made on the pitch that day.

“But that’s history now and you learn more from a defeat than you do from a victory but decision making will be one of the messages at training this week. It’s a bit like cricket, you have to build your innings, you have to take every run that’s going and in rugby you have to take every point which is going and we turned down three very kickable penalties that day and we missed four.

“But if you have seven chances to win a game and you can’t take them, then you suffer the consequences, which we did that day.”