Braniff’s dozen helps steer Down past Derry and into Ulster hurling final

Winners led from pillar to post in commanding display at the Athletic Grounds

Derry’s Brendan Rogers with Down’s Michael Ennis and Fintan Conway. Photograph: Inpho

Derry’s Brendan Rogers with Down’s Michael Ennis and Fintan Conway. Photograph: Inpho

 

DOWN 0-25 DERRY 1-16: Paul Braniff scored 0-12 to steer Down into the Ulster senior hurling final. Down made Derry pay for failing to kill them off in last week’s drawn semi-final and led from start to finish in yesterday’s replay at the Athletic Grounds.

Eight of Braniff’s points came from frees, while midfielder Donal Hughes scored five points from play.

Derry were reduced to 14 men after 27 minutes when Aaron Kelly received a straight red card for an off-the-ball clash with Down defender Paddy Hughes.

Down, fatigued after their Christy Ring Cup success, rallied after last week’s poor performance and were ahead 0-12 to 1-5 at half-time.

Derry half-time substitutes Mark Craig and Paddy Henry hit 10 points between them in the second-half.

Kevin McGarry hit two second-half points for Down, while subs Michael Turley and Johnny McCusker also got on the scoresheet.

No date has yet been fixed for the Ulster senior hurling final against Antrim, which will be played in Celtic Park.

A relieved Down manager Gerard Monan called on the Ulster Council to give his side a few weeks of a break before taking on the Saffrons.“We have seven or eight boys going on holidays and to the Mumford and Sons concert [in Dublin] next week so we’re hoping not to play it until the end of July, start of August.”

DOWN: S Keith; M Conlon, P Flynn, P Hughes; F Conway, C Woods, M Ennis; D Hughes (0-5), E Clarke; K McGarry (0-2), P Braniff (0-12, 0-8 frees), P Sheehan (0-1); D Toner, G Johnson, J Coyle (0-3). Subs: M Turley (0-1) for Toner (49 mins), J McCusker (0-1) for McGarry (52 mins), B Nicholson for Conlon (57 mins), L McMullan for Coyle (63 mins), C Hughes for Ennis (65 mins).
DERRY: D McDermott; D McCloskey, P Kelly, J McCloskey; R McCloskey, L Hinphey, M O’Hagan; O McCloskey, K Hinphey (0-2); B Rodgers (0-1), A Grant (0-1, free), T McCloskey (0-2, 0-1 free); P Cleary, B Quigley, A Kelly (1-0). Subs: M Craig (0-3) for Quigley (half-time), P Henry (0-7, 0-4 frees) for Cleary (half-time), S McBride for Rodgers (60 mins).
Referee: Tony Carroll (Offaly).