Derry show no sign of stopping after comfortable victory over Galway

Understrength Galway outfit put to the sword after conceding two critical goals in the second half in Salthill

Galway 1-11 Derry 3-10

Derry’s footballing renaissance shows no sign of stopping any time soon on the evidence of another convincing victory that consolidated their position on top of the Division One league table. An understrength Galway gave as good as they got for long spells but, in the absence of a plethora of mainstays and marquee forwards, they ultimately came up short at a windy Salthill.

An early goal from half-back Eoin McEvoy put Mickey Harte’s table-toppers in the driving seat and, despite failing to score in the last quarter, they were able to keep a misfiring Galway at a safe distance. Padraic Joyce’s makeshift team only converted 12 of the 28 scoring chances they created, and badly missed the likes of Liam Silke, Paul Conroy and Cillian McDaid around the middle, as well as key attackers Shane Walsh and Damien Comer.

The concession of two second half goals also cost them dearly.

The first of these arrived six minutes after the restart when referee Derek O’Mahoney adjudged that Derry’s Diarmuid Baker had been denied a goalscoring opportunity by Kieran Molloy after he broke through on the Galway goal. Shane McGuigan (who failed to score from open play) duly stepped up to convert the resultant penalty while Molloy was sent to the sin-bin.


Derry never looked back while Galway never recovered, their cause not helped by a black card for Seán Mulkerrin five minutes later. Points from Ciarán McFaul, Donncha Gilmore and McGuigan (free) nudged Derry six points ahead swinging into the last quarter, and the game was settled as a contest when Paul Cassidy palmed in a goal in the 55th minute.

That turned out to be Derry’s last score of a game that meandered to an inevitable conclusion, as Galway shot the last four points of the match through substitute Cillian O Curraoin (two, one free), Robert Finnerty (free) and John Daly.

Derry played with typical purpose and organisation from the start and deservedly led at the end of an entertaining first half by 1-7 to 1-5. They also got the perfect start when Eoin McEvoy came thundering through the heart of the Galway defence to crack a shot past Conor Gleeson.

The Tribesmen stuck to their task, though, and a black card for Brendan Rogers in the 13th minute took some of the wind out of Derry’s sails. However, the visitors were still 1-3 to 0-2 ahead after 24 minutes with Galway’s only score from play at that stage arriving from wing-back Daniel O’Flaherty.

But with the likes of Dylan McHugh, John Maher and Johnny Heaney playing central roles, the homeside were thrown a lifeline when Cein Darcy ran on to a pass from John Daly before firing a low shot into the Derry net to cut the gap to the bare minimum on 25 minutes. This score really sparked the contest into life and the pace and tempo quickened as a result.

The teams traded points three times over the next ten minutes with All Star midfielder Conor Glass shooting a couple of brilliant scores for Derry, along with one from Niall Loughlin. Galway’s responses arrived via the hard-working Robert Finnerty (two, one free) and a trademark close-range effort from target man Niall Daly.

But the last word of the half went to Derry’s dynamic midfielder, Brendan Rogers, who finished a slick hand-passing move by clipping a neat point to give the Ulster champions a little bit of extra breathing space at the interval.

Derry went on to make their decisive match-winning break after the restart, and will now welcome All-Ireland champions, Dublin, to Celtic Park next weekend. Galway, meanwhile, face a crunch game away to Monaghan.

Galway: C Gleeson; J McGrath, S Fitzgerald, S Mulkerrins; D McHugh, J Daly (0-1), K Molloy; D O’Flaherty (0-1), J Maher; J Heaney (0-1, one free), C Darcy (1-0), C Sweeney; R Finnerty (0-5, four frees), N Daly (0-1), L Ó Conghaile.

Subs: S Kelly for Darcy (HT), J Glynn for Molloy (52 mins), C Ó Curraoin (0-2, one free) for Ó Conghaile (58), R Cunningham for Finnerty (67), P Egan for Sweeney (72).

Derry: R Scullion; C McCluskey, C McKaigue, D Baker; C Doherty, E McEvoy (1-0), P McGrogan; C Glass (0-3, one mark), B Rogers (0-1); E Doherty, C McFaul (0-1), Paul Cassidy (1-1, one free); N Loughlin (0-1), S McGuigan (1-2, one pen, two frees), D Cassidy.

Subs: N Toner for C Doherty (35 mins, inj), D Gilmore (0-1) for D Cassidy (49), L Murray for Loughlin (55), E Mulholland for P Cassidy (64).

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

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