Derry manager John McEvoy (Pic: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)
Derry manager John McEvoy said fatigue was a factor in his side's preparations for the challenge of Offaly.
While also admitting it wasn't the reason that his side lost, McEvoy felt John Mullan was unlucky to be sent off after 43 minutes, after Derry cut the margin to six points.
While admitting Offaly was a 'tough' draw, the Derry manager said his squad were 'buzzing' at last Tuesday's training session, one he rated as 'one of the best' of the season.
“It was a tough draw, a challenging draw and the draw you would love. We had no fear coming in against Offaly today, but it just didn't work out the way we wanted it to.
“The fact that we came into the league (final) cold with no challenge matches and the fact we played a serious match against Down (in the Christy Ring Cup), we felt we were well prepared for a game coming in against a team that didn't have a competitive match,” McEvoy explained.
“At the same time, 100 percent of those (Offaly) lads out there are just playing hurling and don't have football. They are devoting themselves totally to hurling” he added.
Ten of Derry's starting team on Saturday played for their club's senior football teams, including star player Cormac O'Doherty, who was a starter on the Slaughtneil senior football team that played right up until the first weekend of October.
McEvoy stated that his players came back to county duty after a 'massive' club campaign. He also mentioned how his side had been training since last November, with an eye on hitting the ground running when their promotion push began in late January.
“Privately, myself and the management team were a bit concerned about the fatigue,” he said, while mentioning how players who normally had another gear, but didn't have it in the locker.
“When that happens, you are compensating and we felt we had to play men behind the ball to get more legs. We were trying to get balls to stick up front when there was nothing left in them."
For the full interview with the Derry boss, grab a copy of Tuesday's County Derry Post.
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