City of Derry welcome Clonmel to Craig Thompson Stadium

Stephen Corr returns for City of Derry this weekend against Clonmel.
Stephen Corr returns for City of Derry this weekend against Clonmel.

AIL Division 2C: City of Derry v Clonmel (Saturday, 2.30pm)

He giveth and he taketh away!

City of Derry Head Coach must be wondering if he accidentally ran over a black cat during last week’s Hallowe‘en festivities.

Just as he welcomed back Stephen Corr, Richard Baird, Gerard Doherty and, possibly, captain David Ferguson to his pack following last week’s defeat at Skerries, O’Kane must now prepare for this weekend’s visit of Clonmel minus Tiernan Thorton, Eoin Ferry, Davy Graham and Jack Sayers.

“It is frustrating to get the boys who missed last week back only to be missing even more this week but that’s the nature of it, we have to deal with these things,” explained O’Kane.

“Tiernan was absolutely superb last Saturday and superb in a pack that came out second best on the day. Losing the four boys meant we were steam-rollered a bit up front. We were dominated at the breakdown. Every time we got the ball we looked dangerous but we didn’t get it anywhere near enough.

“Our line-out completely malfunctioned but, again, that’s down to missing ‘Corrsy’ who runs the line-out, missing Richie (Baird) and missing our thrower.

The game wasn’t a battering, we were well in the game and the boys kept going but we lacked physicality to get ourselves enough ball and lacked accuracy at the line-out in particular.”

On Saturday, fifth placed Clonmel arrive at the Craig Thompson Stadium but only two points separate them from eigth placed Derry.

“Clonmel are going rightly but this is going to be a crazy league,” added O’Kane, “They are two points ahead of us so if we beat them, we go ahead of them, that’s the incentive.

“If anyone puts a run of results together in this league, they will do well and be right among the contenders. It will be nip and tuck every week so you have to go from week to week and it builds in importance as the weeks pass.

“Clonmel were a junior club who had been knocking on the door to come up for a fair few season. They are well committed, well organised, physical up front and possess a good scrum half and an excellent centre from what I’ve heard.

“It’s hard to know what to expect. They’ve been building a long time and probably have a better consistency of squad that we have presently. It’s a hard one to call, like most of the games, but we will be strong even with the boys missing.

“We are lacking a bit of fluidity at the minute with all the changes and having to call off training a couple of times but they haven’t seen us and we haven’t seen them so it is crucial we get a good start, the first 20 minutes are very important.”