Cassidy: "you have players who pull the plug at the first hurdle"

08 August 2017

Damien Cassidy

Declan Cassidy says up-and-coming Derry footballers aren't prepared to serve a senior intercounty apprenticeship like their neighbours in Tyrone.

While the Red Hands are reaping the benefits of player perseverance and patience, the former Oak Leaf manager sees too many Derry men throw the towel in immediately rather than fighting for a jersey:

“This culture that's been developed in Derry is now at epidemic proportions, where supporters and people who follow it at club level have been piping in players' ears for so long about ‘don't go to the county team, that's a waste of time' that it's now a serious issue,” the 1993 All-Ireland winner states in The Irish News.

“You have players who pull the plug at the first hurdle they face as a player. In Tyrone, there are very few players who come on to the panel and play in their first year – Declan McClure being one of them, highly unusual. Padraig Hampsey sat on the bench all last year. That would never happen in Derry. You have an apprenticeship to serve in Tyrone.

“The question I'd be asking players is if I put you on the bench for five months for whatever reason, you're not ready or you're not playing well enough, are you still going to be there? If the answer's not yes then you're better without them.

“The truth of the matter is that from the age of 23 down, Derry have an awful lot of good footballers. Those players are listening to people in their clubs telling them that when the going gets half tough, ‘what are you doing up there?'”