DERRY GAA: Oak Leaf survival hopes hit by late collapse in Galway
Allianz National League Division Two
Galway 5-15, Derry 2-15
Derry's Division Two survival hopes took a major hit after a late collapse helped Galway a somewhat flattering nine point victory in Sunday's League clash in Tuam.
The defeat, coupled with Fermanagh's victory over Clare, means Damian Barton's young team slip to the bottom of the table with matches against Cork and the Erne County to come in the final two fixtures.
Derry, with the wind at their backs, led 2-10 to 2-07 at half-time after Tom Flynn’s goal in first half stoppage time denied the Oak Leafers the type of advantage they required, and probably deserved, given the difficult playing conditions.
Benny Heron and Emmet McGuckin were first half goal scorers for Derry, Heron seizing on Rory Lavelle's 23rd minute save from a McGuckin shot to fist home, before the big Magherafelt forward looked to have given Derry breathing space by finding the net as the interval approached.
Crucially though, McGuckin's strike was followed only seconds later by Flynn's effort which provided a platform for Galway's second half onslaught with the Oak Leafers inexperience costing them at times.
Niall Loughlin was superb throughout for Derry who impressed for long periods during the game but once again, it was an inability to shut the opposition out that proved their eventual undoing.
The warning signs were there in an opening half in which Thomas Mallon was forced to produce an excellent 29th minute penalty save from Berry McHugh after Niall Keenan was penalised for a foot block on Michael Daly.
James Kielt had extended the lead early in the second half but four unanswered points from Galway levelled the game and from there Derry were always up against it.
They showed immense character hoeever to hit the front again, Danny Tallon instrumental as Kielt and Carlus McWilliams tagged on scores alongside the Glen man for a three point lead that looked to have put visitors in the driving seat.
It was quite a spectacle as a contest but that helped Galway find a way back as Derry's defensive deficiencies were exposed late on. Goals from Johnny Heaney, Eamonn Brannigan (pen) and substitute Shane Walsh were harsh as Derry lost Conor McAtamney to a late black card.
McGuckin's late penalty miss didn't matter much to the scoreboard but it capped another afternoon of frustration for a Derry side whose potential is being over shadowed by an inability to keep things tights in their own half.
Galway: R Lavelle; L Burke, D Walsh, C Sweeney; G O’Donnell (0-01), G Bradshaw, J Heaney (1-01); P Conroy, F Ó Curraoin; G Sice (0-02, 0-01 free), T Flynn (1-01), E Brannigan (1-03, 1-00 penalty); D Cummins (1-01), M Daly (0-03), B McHugh (0-02, 0-01 ’45). Subs: S Walsh (1-01) for Cummins (50 mins), M Lundy for Sice (55 mins), M Farragher for Bradshaw (57 mins), L Silke for Heaney (70 mins), F Hanley for Burke (72 mins), E Tierney for Conroy (74 mins).
Derry: T Mallon; C McGrogan, C Nevin, N Keenan; M McEvoy, M Craig, N Forester; C McAtamney, J Kielt (0-05, 0-03 frees); D Tallon (0-01), B Heron (1-02), C McWilliams (0-01); E Lynn (0-01), E McGuckin (1-00), N Loughlin (0-05, 0-02 frees, 0-01 ’45). Subs: O Hegarty for McGrogan (20 mins), R Bell for Loughlin (50 mins), C Kielt for Nevin (50 mins), P Hagan for Tallon (66 mins), J Rocks for McAtamney (69 mins, black card).
Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)