City of Derryare ready for play off home semi-final

City of Derry coach Terry McMaster
City of Derry coach Terry McMaster

City of Derry missed promotion to Division 2A of the All Ireland League on a dramatic final day of the regular season.

Terry McMaster's side missed going up on points difference and now must negotiate the playoffs starting with Sunday's Well at home.

McMaster feels Derry only have themselves to blame for not securing automatic promotion.

“It’s a different route we have to go down but one we are confident we can go down, we have only ourselves to blame at the business end of the season sometimes that happens, it’s the hard way and at the same time we’re up for it," said McMaster.

Derry had gone into the final day a point clear but failure to get a bonus point at home to Barnhall coupled wit Highfield's 59-7 win over Bective saw the Munster side promoted.

“You couldn’t have written the script we had somebody checking the scores but we could only check one game because Highfield didn’t put a single thing up on twitter or anything, we knew what was happening between Greystones and Sunday Well and we knew Well would have to win by 60 points and they were out of it.

“Somebody got through to someone from Bective shortly after four and at that stage we were winning comfortably on points difference but they scored three tries in injury time and converted them all.

“As I said to the guys afterwards if we’d have scored the fourth try and we got the third try in the 12 minutes into the second half it wouldn’t have matted if they had have won 100-0 we would have got promoted, we’re disappointed we didn’t kick on and get that bonus point.

“Barnhall fought tooth and nail to the 80th minute and that is what the game of rugby football is all about pride and playing to whistle, I can’t believe the results Bective got in the four games leading into the Highfield game to go down and capitulate something doesn’t stack up but it gives us an added incentive to kick on this weekend.

“We know Sunday Well won’t come up from Cork and lie down against us.”

Sunday Well beat both Derry and Highfield in the run in but McMaster is hoping the Judge's Road factor will come into play.

“They beat Highfield and ourselves but tripped up a bit against Dungannon, they are a good side and we respect them, we know a lot about them having played them twice it will be a tough game, last time we played them we lost Sam Duffy to a knee injury but he is back and we lost our captain and hooker David Ferguson. We lost them in the first 25 minutes of the game and we very nearly clinched it at the end, we can have seven replacements on the bench in the semi final and we can roll our subs a bit better and we have a full squad to select from.”“We enjoy playing at home, we get good support and it is a big wide pitch and we like to play with width so that is in our favour so the utopia will be we get a win on Saturday and Greystones will beat Skerries and have to come up to us, we’ll look at it one game at a time and it is comforting it’s a home if it was reversed and we had to travel to Cork on the back of a long league campaign we’ll hope to be fresher for not making the journey.”

Rainey finished ninth in the divison and they are involved in the relegation play, they welcome Wanderers to Hatrick Park and have a full squad to select from.