|Derry Boss Damian Barton|
PIC BBC Website
When Derry lock horns with Tyrone on Sunday (Owenbeg 2pm) it will be the second of the four meetings this season. They will meet in the league and championship further down the track with the stakes considerably higher. Both counties will have aspirations of both promotion and lifting the Anglo Celt Cup in July.
Mickey Harte like always has put it out there that he wants to win every game possible and traditionally has never been a fan of challenge matches. In the O’Fiaich Cup Tyrone pulled away to a comfortable win when the sides met before Christmas and based on Sunday’s results the winner on Sunday will be well placed for a semi-final slot in the McKenna Cup.
When we put it to Damian Barton how he would approach this Sunday’s game in light of the ‘bigger dates’ ahead the Derry manager replied instantly and indicated that Tyrone are certainly in the top bracket of teams in the country.
“Next Sunday is a big date! Awk I don’t know, it doesn’t matter Tyrone’s one of the top teams in the country. If Kerry were coming or if Dublin were coming I mean it’s a special game. We have to treat Tyrone in the same bracket.”
With the likes of Brendan Rogers, Gareth McKinless, Cailean O’Boyle and others tied in with their various college teams Barton is unlikely to tinker too much with his team ahead of Sunday.
“We’ll not be making really any significant changes in terms of our gameplan we still want to go out and win the game. It’s all about us and we can do what we want but Tyrone are full of athletes and you can see that, that’s what they have been developing. It’s something we have to cope with next week is their running game.”
There were 1126 in attendance last Sunday for the visit of Antrim and this weekend that it likely to grow, after all derby games always create interest. The McKenna Cup is usually a breeding ground for new referees. Not for this tussle though as high profile referee Ciaran Brannigan will take charge.
Both sets of supporters will be full focused on Sunday 22nd May but that seems like a lifetime away now.