Vital win for improving Derry keeps promotion hopes alive

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Meath 0-9

Derry 0-13

DERRY’S form continues to improve in the National Football League after those two poor opening games against Galway and Tyrone. They put up an impressive performance at Navan to overcome a fancied Meath team by a four point margin.

With the two Bradley’s Patsy and Paddy outstanding Derry always looked the better organised team. After a pretty even first half Derry were on top for most of the second and made much better use of their chances that the home team who hit thirteen wides over the seventy minutes.

This win eases Derry’s relegation worries and with games against Louth and Westmeath to come they should add further points. They still have a host of injured players to come in and there are hopes that Eoin Bradley can play some part in those games after being out of action since last July.

Derry gave a very committed and workmanlike display and held Meath scoreless from play in the second half. The home team depended largely on Stephen Bray to get scores while Derry had no less than seven players who found the target.

Derry started well with Paddy Bradley and Enda Lynn on target early on but Meath backed by their big home support gradually eased their way back into the game to be just a point behind at half time on a score of Derry 0-7 Meath 0-6.

With Derry controlling the middle third due to the great work of PJ McCloskey and Patsy Bradley the home team had for the most part to take long range pot shots at the Derry posts. A much improved Derry defence did not give the Meath attackers much room to work in.

On the restart Conleth Gilligan pointed two frees and newcomer Blaine Gormley hit over his second ’45 to put daylight between the teams. Meath were finding it difficult to win the ball in the crowded midfield area where Derry’s big men were dominant and at no stage in the second half did look like closing the gap and in the end Derry were very comfortable winners.

Derry scorers Paddy Bradley 0-4, Conleth Gilligan, Blaine Gormley and Enda Lynn 0-2 each, Charlie Kielt, Patsy Bradley and Brian McCallion 0-1 each.

Meath scorers Stephen Bray 0-5, Cain Ward 0-2, Graham Reilly, Seamus Kenny and Brian Farrell 0-1 each.

Derry, B. Gillis, B. McCallion, C. McKaigue, A. McAlynn, M. Craig, C. Kielt, S.L. McGoldrick, M. Friel, PJ McCloskey, Patsy Bradley, C. O’Boyle, B. Gormley, E. Lynn, Paddy Bradley, C. Gilligan. Subs E. Scullion for B. McCallion, N. Forrester for C. Gilligan and E. Brown for M. Friel.

Meath. D. Gallagher, M. Burke, K. Reilly, C. O’Connor, C. King, B. Menton, G. Reilly, T. Walsh, M. Ward, S. Kenny, S. Bray, D. Tobin, P. Gilsenan, C. Ward. S. McAnarney Subs G. O’Brien for C. O’Connor, A. Forde for C. King and B. Farrell for C. Ward.

Referee P. Hughes Armagh

There is a double header at Faughanvale on Sunday with Derry clubs facing Donegal opposition in the Quinn’s Corner Ulster Intermediate and Senior League finals.

In the Intermediate final Foreglen will play Ballybofey and in the senior final Ballinderry previous winners of the competition will take on Killybegs. On semi final form there is every chance of a Derry double.

This Wednesday 21st March Derry will play Monaghan in the quarter final of the Ulster under 21 championship at 8pm. On Sunday the senior footballers face Louth at Celtic park 2-30. The hurlers will make the long trip to Carlow in round four of the National Hurling League Division 2A. The minor footballers travel to Omagh in the Ulster League on Saturday.