Two-goal salvo puts Derry minors in the clear
Down suffer seven-point defeat at Celtic Park
Derry produced a strong second half, with two goals inside a minute midway through the second half the key scores to defeat Down in yesterday’s Ulster MFC first round tie. The sides were level six times in Celtic Park before Derry kicked on strongly with goals by Patrick Coney and Shane McGuigan in the 47th and 48th minutes.
Down recovered from a 0-7 to 0-4 half-time deficit to take the lead five minutes into the second half. They got a dream start to the second half with a Tiarnan Rushe goal and an Aaron Magee free and the game was well balanced heading into the final quarter.
Derry got a stroke of luck when Coney’s attempt at a point dropped into the far corner of the net. And the home side sealed the win when Shane McGuigan got in behind two Down defenders, caught a high ball before turning and planting the ball into the corner.
Down had a late penalty appeal turned down but Derry, with AFL-bound star player Conor Glass switching from attack to full back to curb the Down threat, saw the game out to book a semi-final slot against Donegal.
The sides were level four times in the first 20 minutes before Derry pulled clear in the ten minutes before the break to open up a 0-7 to 0-4 interval lead. Aaron D’Arcy fired over a close-range point for the opening score of the game in the thrd minute and after Derry missed a couple of fress, they equalised through Shane McGuigan five minutes later. Rushe and Fergal Higgins traded points before Conor Glass, put Derry ahead for the first time with a converted free.
Deaglan Morgan equalised again for Down and McGuigan and Aaron Magee swapped frees to leave the teams level at 0-4 apiece. Derry took over with three unanswered points before the break from midfielder Jack Downey, Glass (a free) and wing back Shea Downey.
Down got a dream start to the second half when full forward Rushe sidestepped his marker before drilling the ball low into the far corner with his left foot. They stayed with Derry for three-quarters of the game, but the two-goal salvo saw Derry run out deserving winners.
DERRY: C Mullan-Young; N Keenan, C McGrogan, E Concannon; S Downey (0-1), M McEvoy, C Maunsell; P Kearney, J Doherty (0-2); C Glass (0-3, 3 frees), S Higgins, P Coney (1-0); F Higgins (0-2), F Kearney, S McGuigan (1-2, 1 free) Subs: B Cassidy for Higgins (35), E Murray for P Kearney (47), M Mullan (0-1) for McGuigan (56).
DOWN: J Heaney; C Cox, P Murdock, D McLaughlin; C Carr, M Harte, P Laverty; F Aiken, CJ Barr; D Morgan (0-1, free), J McGovern, A D’Arcy (0-2); C Gordon, T Rushe (1-2), A Magee (0-2, 2 frees). Subs: PJ Davidson for McGovern (35), D Connolly for Aiken (41), N Turkington for Gordon (49), O Donnelly for Rushe (BC, 55), O McConvey for Harte (60).
Referee: James Lewis (Fermanagh)