League trophy would be cherry on top for Derry's remarkable revival 5 months ago

League trophy would be cherry on top for Derry's remarkable revival

Derry play Offaly  in the Division 3 final and although the proud footballing county boasts a rich history of higher honours and accolades, it is a significant step in the right direction.

The oak leaf county have been in footballing wilderness in recent years, disbanded, disjointed and disorganised at times. When Rory Gallagher was appointed as the new manager, many saw this as a reductive step, rather than a positive one.

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The Fermanagh native has a reputation of coaching negative, defensive football, which would be at odds with the purity of some of Derry's clubs, like Slaughtneil and Glen, who live and breath the game.

However, he also has a reputation of being organised, relentless and demands nothing but the highest standards from his players. He seems to have given the county focus, shedding the squad of players who didn't buy in and raising the game of those who offered their full commitment.

They may be playing defensive football to some degree, but they have also been racking up ridiculous scores at the other end and offering serious entertainment to the fans.

Shane McGuigan is the beacon of this light in the forward line. The Slaughtneil man has that killer instinct in front of the posts and his clinical finishing has brought a level of reliability back to Derry.

Conor Glass has returned from Australia and told the Irish News that he didn't come all the way back "Just to win a Division 3 title. I'm here to go all the way." It's been a while since a Derry player was brave or confident enough to publicly make a claim like that.

That's the Gallagher effect, he makes the player's believe that they are capable of mixing it with the very best of them and their decision to play this league final even though they had the option to take a week off, says it all about their new mentality.

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You can't buy the experience that playing at Croke Park gives you and climbing the steps after a match to hoist a trophy above your head is something they want to start making a habit of.

Offaly have been through something of a resurgence themselves and won't make it easy for the Ulster side, but for the people of Derry, interest and pride in the county has finally resurfaced.

They will play the winners of Down and Donegal, and with this new bed-rock of belief and a potential trophy in the cabinet, you have to say that they have good chance this year.