HomeFootballEoin McEvoy believes Derry’s sweeper keeper malfunction is no big deal

Eoin McEvoy believes Derry’s sweeper keeper malfunction is no big deal


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Oak Leaf ace insists just a tweak is required to Mickey Harte’s system, not wholesale change, after Donegal ruthlessly exposed goalkeeper Odhrán Lynch

Did Donegal, with their exploitation of Odhrán Lynch’s fondness for rambling, show up a fatal flaw in Derry’s system, one that won’t get them up the steps at the end of July?

Or was it a blessing in disguise? A non-fatal defeat to shine a light on an area that needs tweaking rather than wholesale change.

Derry defender Eoin McEvoy is of the latter opinion, pointing out that there was no such commentary when Lynch’s wandering helped Mickey Harte’s side create overloads and punch holes in Dublin in their league final victory at Croke Park only last month.

For McEvoy, it’s evolution not revolution that is required before they open their All-Ireland series group against either Galway or Mayo next month.

“We haven’t done much [since the Donegal defeat], just been training away and training hard. You probably have to ask Mickey (Harte) and ‘Horse’ (Gavin Devlin) that question.

“No one was saying much after the league final when Odhrán was doing the exact same and had a very good game. On the kick-outs, Odhrán still had a good game, it’s probably just the opposition ones, but we have three or four weeks to fix the flaw in the system.

“Thank God it’s not July, the business end of the season and you are scratching your head for months to try get back into it. Now we have the time and we are going to use it wisely now.”

McEvoy argued that Derry generally gain more than they lose with what Lynch can offer out the field.

“If Odhrán is coming out with the ball, he’s creating a plus one. If someone is coming to Odhrán, there is always a spare man free. It is beneficial to have him. Odhrán has been playing that role for three or four years now for the county and plays it for the club as well.

“He’s well used to it and is very good at it. It would be wise to stick with it.

“Nothing really been much mentioned of it. You’d probably need to ask Mickey and Horse that question [whether Derry will tweak their system].”

McEvoy was speaking after being named PwC GAA/GPA player of the month after his brilliant, two-goal performance in the league final from the heart of the half-back line.

It’s not quite an accident, his posting at centre-back. But having filled the number three shirt last year – which allowed Brendan Rogers out to midfield – McEvoy’s release to the half-back line has given Derry new impetus.

“I picked up a knock in the McKenna Cup final, missed the first two group games, then was back for the Monaghan game. I think Gareth (McKinless) nipped his hamstring in the Tyrone game and with Dermot Baker had been playing very well; there was a spot there. They said they were just going to try me out. Thankfully, it just stuck.”

Derry move forward. The Donegal defeat was a setback, but with successive Ulster titles and a league crown in the bag, there’s only one more summit left for the Oak Leafers to climb.

And after the draw pitted them in a difficult group with Connacht champions Galway or Mayo, the losers of the Ulster final between Donegal and Armagh, as well as Westmeath, their journey is about to begin.

“With the McKenna Cup and the league, we played 12 games in 13 weeks. I’d say hangover [following the defeat to Donegal] is the wrong word because there was a three-week gap to that game. It just didn’t go the way we wanted it to on the scoreline.”

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