GAA Football

'Lazy criticism unfair' says Derry minor boss Campbell

Derry minor manager Paddy Campbell. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Ulster MFC round two: Derry v Cavan (tomorrow, Owenbeg, 6pm)

PADDY Campbell says “lazy” social media criticism of his Derry minor side's first round win over Armagh is unfair.

The Oak Leafers, who are aiming to reach their fifth straight provincial final at the grade (winning two from four), were made graft by Ciaran McKeever's side in the opening round.

Derry scored just a single point in the first half but eventually took command thanks to PJ McAleese's goal seven minutes from time in a 1-5 to 0-4 win.

Armagh boss McKeever admitted afterwards that his aim was “to narrow the gap” as Derry were “10 points better than Armagh”.

Some social media purists were largely unimpressed but Campbell pointed to the example of Meath's 0-8 to 0-5 win over Offaly in the Leinster MFC on Wednesday past as an example of how tough it can be.

“Probably a lot of folks were commenting on Twitter and a lot weren't even at the game, which is crazy, but that's the way the world is.

“I don't check Twitter myself, but guys on the management team and the players would tell me. I think it's unfair on the work the management team and players put in. They know it's unfair.

“I don't mind people commenting that were at the game, but those that were at home tweeting and retweeting, it's not right.

“It's a lazy way to communicate and comment on something. It doesn't annoy me.

“We played Meath in a challenge game and they're as good as Dublin, they're a very, very good team with huge aspirations to be Leinster champions this year. They just about got eight scores, I think they had five after 50 minutes.

“Monaghan beat Antrim 0-6 to 1-2 a few weeks ago. It's difficult. With weather conditions, if teams set up very defensively, you're working with 16 and 17-year-olds, they find it difficult to score from 45 metres out. It's not easy.

“They were working hard on that, we understand that it's coming down the road. Most Ulster teams, believe it or not, play like that.”

In his first year in charge, Derry averaged 2-11 per game in their Ulster campaign. Campbell defended their style, saying it is “naïve” to expect any team to play man-for-man.

“Yes, we have a defensive plan, it would be stupid and naïve not to have that. But we also have an offensive plan, we leave men up in the forward line to see if we can get early ball into them.

“What happened up in Armagh is an outlier hopefully. It's naïve that some people want to play 15-on-15. Those days are gone.

“Until the rules change in GAA, that ain't gonna happen again, either at minor level or senior or even at club team now, it's rife that teams are very defensive and aiming to stay in the game until 10 or 15 minutes to go.”

This evening's challenge should be a bit more fluid. Cavan took a while to find their stride against Fermanagh but were comfortable once Jack Tully found the net to push them 1-9 to 0-5 clear 10 minutes into the second half.

Gary Farrelly's side went on to win by 10 points, and while Campbell was particularly impressed by Caoimhin McGovern at midfield and Darryl McGurren up front, he admits Derry are a bit blind heading to Owenbeg this evening.

Cavan upset the odds somewhat when the sides met at this stage last year. The idea of the same can't be discounted this time either, but the Oak Leafers should have enough.

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