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McGuckin: Derry youngsters are free from mental scars

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Ryan Bell and his Derry teammates recorded a semi-final win over Monaghan

DERRY have been handed an early chance to strike back at their greatest rivals Tyrone in Saturday’s McKenna Cup final in Newry.

Last season met in the O’Fiaich Cup, McKenna Cup (twice), the League and the Ulster Championship and it was 5 and 0 for the men from the Red Hand county.

There was some upheaval heading into this year’s campaign but the flipside was that it allowed manager Damian Barton to throw some young players into the mix straight away – and they are free from inhibitations, according to assistant boss Brian McGuckin.

McGuckin said: “Obviously we were on the wrong end of too many results against them last year and it can have a psychological effect on the boys but, thankfully, we are working here with a lot of young boys who have no exposure to this current Tyrone team.

“They are going in with no inhibitions and I have no doubt that the players that take to the field on Saturday will be going in believing that they can win.

“We’ll be travelling to Newry aiming to win the game and we’ll see where it takes us. It’s not the be all and end all but it would be nice to get the silverware.

“They’re playing with a lot of enthusiasm, they’re putting in a lot of commitment and they deserve to be in the McKenna Cup final.”

The full interview is available in store today or online here.

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