Good footballers, hard training and fall-outs - How Rory Gallagher is bringing some pride back to Derry
"You can't really energise a county until you bring back that bit of pride."
The Oakleaf county has something to smile about for the first time in a long time, as they are rampaging through division three teams, looking flying fit, hungry for goals and dominant in the back line.
A few eyebrows were raised when Rory Gallagher was initially appointed as the Derry manager, given his defensive style of play, demanding personality and a strange habit of spitting into his hands every two minutes.
However, he's the one rubbing his hands together with glee at the moment as he has created a culture change in Derry, injecting some pride back into the county. He has clearly gotten his players into peak physical condition, with an impressive counter-attacking running game.
Conor Glass. ✈️
📸 Margaret McLaughlin pic.twitter.com/FKlEHNs221
— Derry GAA (@Doiregaa) May 24, 2021
Speaking on The GAA Hour, Colm Parkinson identifies several reasons why the Ulster side should be excited about the season ahead: "Chrissy McKaigue has gone in as a corner-back, alongside Brendan Rodgers - now the two of them in a full-back line are as good as anywhere in the country.
"I really like their midfield, Conor Glass. He is back playing better this year, he looked a very rusty player last year, but he was only back from the AFL. He's a big lump of a lad, he's maybe not like a Conor McKenna who can just hit the ground running.
"Emmet Bradley, a very direct, bloody good player in midfield, so they have a solid midfield and McGuigan up front is in the very top tier of players, so they have an awful lot going for them."
Donegal legend Brendan Devenney has came up against some very tough Derry sides in his years of playing and he believes that having good players is only a part of what's needed to make it to that next level.
"Gallagher has a lot to work with," admitted the former forward. "But the mindset, attitude - you need a lot of ingredients to push on to be a top team. Obviously, you need a decent club structure and good club teams, which Derry have. You need some finances, but you need the will of the county behind you.
"There is such an ingrained, tough club championship there that it's taken over, and as the county went down, it played more into that. Derry were used to being up at the top, I remember back to the early 90's, all the ding-dongs with Donegal, who won it in '92. Derry won it in '93 and many people said they should have won another one.
"They won a few leagues, they were right up there in the glory days - it's very hard for a team to drop that far down, with the talent that they have.
"There were stories at the start of the year that there was a bit of a fall-out with Enda Lynn and I think Gallagher is very critical in there and was snapping at people. That's the word I was hearing back from the Derry camp.
"He gives it to you in training, puts it up to you, but I guess he wants the right result and there's one or two guys, who couldn't handle that. It looks like he's got the momentum going in the right way.
"You can't really energise a county until you bring back that bit of pride, so what comes first? It's really up to the team to come together and to build up the county, pull it back and get everyone in.
"Gallagher looks like he is doing that."
Listen to the full discussion on the GAA Hour now.