NIALL Keenan is aware of the pessimistic pre-match chatter ahead of Derry’s date with Tyrone in Sunday’s Ulster Championship quarter-final, but he’s not really put out by it.
The 20-year-old Castledawson man had a chastening introduction to championship football in last year’s heavy defeat against Tyrone at Celtic Park.
Although he wasn’t part of Damian Barton’s matchday panel on that occasion, he’s gone from strength-to-strength and played every minute of Derry’s first six league games this year, missing the Fermanagh match through injury.
While they were relegated and the lack of the optimism in the county is stark, Keenan says they are still confident of putting it up to the Red Hands.
“You can look at it a few ways. You can try and blank it out of your mind or you can try and use it as motivation. Personally I don’t mind too much if we go under the radar.
“If people don’t believe we can do it, that’s fair enough. We have to believe though as a group, we have to have the confidence.”
The full interview with Niall Keenan is available in store today or online here.