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All-Ireland SFC: Derry must show ‘passion and desire’ against Westmeath – McGuckian

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Former Derry captain Kevin McGuckin has called for the current side to “to knuckle down and get it right amongst themselves” ahead of Saturday’s win or bust All-Ireland Group 1 clash with Westmeath.

Mickey Harte’s side needs to beat Westmeath at Pairc Esler in order to advance to an away preliminary quarter-final after defeats to Galway and Armagh ensured third is the highest they can finish.

“It’s a real knock-out game, I suppose there have been complaints that this championship format hasn’t been too exciting but that may change at the weekend and for Derry it’s a game they just have to win,” McGuckin told BBC Sport NI.

Westmeath under Dessie Dolan have pushed both Armagh and Galway all the way in their opening fixtures and should have knocked Tyrone out in a similar fixture last year so the Ballinderry clubman is well aware of the threat.

“This season it just hasn’t gone to plan for Derry. Westmeath is going to be a real tough one and the two games that they have had so far in the group they’ve been super and taken it right to the wire. Derry are really going to have to stand up here -it’s win or bust.

“There has been lots of talk of reported issues in the Derry camp, lots of talk about Mickey Harte and the management team but, I think this one comes down to the players. They’re just going to have to knuckle down and get it right amongst themselves and show a real passion and desire to get through this one and make sure the season continues.”

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