Derry still in good spirits despite defeat to Donegal – Eoin McEvoy

Derry defender Eoin McEvoy has backed his county to come back from their loss to Donegal in the Ulster Senior Football quarter-final.

After starting April on a high after their league final win over All-Ireland champions Dublin, Mickey Harte’s side were swiftly brought back to earth in their defeat to Donegal in the Ulster championship.

A positive for Derry has been the performances of Eoin McEvoy, who won the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month for March.

While Derry will have time to prepare for the first game of the All-Ireland series, McEvoy insists Derry are still in good spirits despite the setback against their rivals.

“It wasn’t really that big of a setback. We know we are in a good place. We had a very good McKenna Cup and league campaign. Probably the biggest thing that disappointed us was the performance and the energy levels we brought to the game.

“Individually, you have to look at yourself first and foremost and and personally ask why you didn’t bring the level that was needed.

“Hopefully the few weeks off will give us time to recharge and training has been going well, there has been a bit of bite to it.

“We have a good long break to the round-robin. We have been in a privileged position before going in after winningan Ulster final as first seeds.”

Eoin McEvoy celebrates with Conor Glass (left) after scoring a goal in the League final. Photo: INPHO/Leah Scholes

In the defeat to Donegal, one player that came in for criticism was goalkeeper Odhran Lynch, as Donegal took full advantage of his positioning for their goals.

However, McEvoy defended his teammate, and said Derry as a group must take responsibility for the defeat.

“For the past couple of years, Odhran has been very good at it. In the league final, he was very good and no one had a problem with it then.

“You have to look at other players as well as to how their goals happened. They had a lot of men at the break, that is not something in Odhran’s control.”

Nominee for young player of the year in 2023, McEvoy has been one of Derry’s key players in their rise in the last couple of seasons, winning two provincial titles and Division One of the Allianz Football League.

While some of this Derry side have been through the journey of Division Four to One, McEvoy is part of the young group with All-Ireland titles under the name at underage level, who have brought their winning mentality to the senior set-up.

“When we won the All-Ireland minor it was unreal. Whenever you have success the players want to keep playing. A good chunk of the team that won the All-Ireland minor have come into the set-up. It comes from the cliché – ‘winning breeds winning’.

“Obviously, coming into the set-up, in my first year we won the Ulster title. It just gives you a bite for it, a buzz to want to get out on to the pitch to be playing in that team. The success brings more success because you want to keep winning.”


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