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Derry must be 'greedy' in order to cash in on progress already made insists Oak Leaf captain McKaigue

Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue has called on his team-mates to be more ruthless in front of goal if they are to build on the progress they have made
By Cahair O'Kane

DERRY captain Chrissy McKaigue believes the county has to be “greedy” in order to accelerate the progress they’ve made – but that they have to start taking the goal chances that are presenting themselves.

Having been convincing 12-point winners over Offaly on Saturday, Derry proved themselves too good for Division Three with a fifth consecutive win.

Five of their six goals in the League game in one game against Fermanagh, and they passed up five glorious opportunities to raise a green flag in Croke Park.

And despite a 67 per cent efficiency on their shooting across the league, the lack of goals is something McKaigue admits they will have to correct.

“Our Achilles’ heel has been, from day dot, we’re not being anywhere near efficient enough in front of goals.

“It’s alright so far, but when you go in to play Donegal or Down, teams that play in a higher division, the bottom line is we’ve got to start taking chances or we’re going to be made pay for it.

“I’m as frustrated as Rory, players are too, he just shows it a bit more. We’re trying to work on it and we’re trying to do things, it’s not all doom and gloom.

“0-21, 0-18, whatever, but maybe it’s just the learning curve of a young team coming together. We certainly know we need to work on it, we’re trying to work on it, it just hasn’t clicked yet.”

Derry have been creating chances though, with the pace from deep starting to open teams up. The lack of goals far pre-dates the Rory Gallagher reign but there’s a fine line with going hunting them.

“I think it comes with a bit of youthful exuberance,” said McKaigue.

“They’re keen for running and taking men on, and we don’t want to take that out of them. But there’s times when the goal’s not on in Gaelic football and we need to start chipping the ball over the bar and that’s when the goal chances will open up.

“But there’s a fine line, you don’t want to take the magic of Ethan Doherty, Shane McGuigan or Ciaran McFaul out of the equation.

“So we have to strike a balance and we’ve talked about that. Things are going grand at the minute. Last week [against Limerick] was a massively pressurised game, [the Offaly game] was a bit more free, the job was done last week.”

Standing with his ankle wrapped in ice after the game, the Oak Leaf skipper admitted he initially would have preferred the game hadn’t been played but came around to the idea as last week went on.

He referenced in his speech – which also included a tribute to late county sponsor Hugh McWilliams – how both Derry and Offaly had done the hard work in their semi-finals.

It continues Derry’s climb back up the league pyramid having dropped like a stone from Division One to Four.

“There was a variety of reasons why we were relegated, and people from Derry know that. Some within our control, some outside our control.

“The reality is we found ourselves in Division Four, but in three years we’re back in Division Two. It’s good.

“The management team is great and I hope they stay for a long time. There’s a lot of talent within the county coming through that I feel will add to it, and these types of things are built long-term.

“But I’ve heard the phrase too many times in my Derry career, Derry are in a phase of development.

“Every team is in a phase of development but you’ve got to be greedy and you’ve got to be relentless to accelerate development and I feel that’s where Derry are at now.

“Whatever happens in the championship happens in the championship, but people are starting to see that there are green shoots in Derry and we’re starting to do things right and I don’t think anyone can deny that.”

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