Mickey Harte satisfied as Derry see off Roscommon to seal final meeting with Dublin

Lachlan Murray and Ethan Doherty catch the eye in Celtic Park victory

Lachlan Murray
Derry goalscorer Lachlan Murray runs at David Murray and Niall Higgins of Roscommon during Sunday’s NFL Division One clash at Celtic Park, which the home side won by 13 points (Margaret McLaughlin Photography )

Allianz Football League Division One, round seven

Derry 2-19 Roscommon 1-9

DERRY eased their way into Sunday’s Division One final showdown against Dublin after dismantling Roscommon in the last 30 minutes on Sunday.

Mickey Harte’s side condemned the Rossies to relegation in the process after hitting 1-11 to a sole Conor Cox point in the final half-hour.

“It’s been a good League for us,” said Harte.

“Any day you get to the Division One final, you’re doing okay. Unfortunately, you see the new juggernaut (Dublin).”

Derry manager Mickey Harte leaves the pitch delighted after beating Roscommon (Margaret McLaughlin Photography )

Derry – who scored all but one point from play in a tally of 2-19 – led 1-8 to 1-5 at half-time before Roscommon got themselves on level terms within seven minutes of the restart.

Ethan Doherty and Lachlan Murray finished with four points apiece as the home side moved up the gears, with Murray’s 61st minute goal ending the game as a contest.

The victory came at a cost, however, with Gareth McKinless sustaining a broken nose after a challenge in the eighth minute.

On a day when Matthew Downey became the 37th player used by Harte this season, Murray and Donncha Gilmore put their hands up for inclusion with the Ulster Championship just around the corner.

Murray weighed in with a fine attacking display, with Gilmore’s GPS tracker spitting out just shy of 14km of vital transitional play.

Roscommon will be left to reflect on two key moments in front of goal.

Derry led by a point when Brian Stack blazed a shot wide in first half stoppage-time before Ethan Doherty and Shane McGuigan kicked the home side into their three-point interval lead.

The Connacht side’s other big chance fell to Enda Smith when the Oak Leafs led 1-10 to 1-8 after 44 minutes. Odhran Lynch blocked a shot on goal and Derry made their way upfield for Murray to fist over.

For all of Derry’s swashbuckling play in the second half, they were cut open at times in the early stages as Roscommon’s greater need for victory was evident.

After keeping the ball for 195 seconds, Enda Smith was played through before blasting over with a goal on offer.

At the other end, Conor Glass did likewise after he was played through by McGuigan.

Derry’s first goal came in the 10th minute with Conleth McGuckian intercepting a kick-out to create the chance for Declan Cassidy, who made no mistake to give his side a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.

Derry's Gareth McKinless leaves the pitch with medic Karl McKaigue after sustaining a broken nose (Margaret McLaughlin Photography )

The Rossies replied seconds later. Possession was secured from Conor Carroll’s kick-out. From midfield, the ball was pumped goalwards. With Lynch out, the bounce eluded him. Donie Smith was on hand to nip ahead of Diarmuid Baker before flicking to the net from an acute angle.

Points from Murray and Paul Cassidy settled the home side, with an Eoin McCormack score levelling matters at 1-3 apiece after 13 minutes.

Murray then pulled a goal chance wide before he nosed Derry back ahead again as the game began to settle.

The Rossies had another goal chance before the break, the crucial Stack moment. A goal would’ve been game-changing. Instead, Derry pushed three points ahead by half-tme.

The visitors were soon level in the third quarter thanks to points from Diarmuid Murtagh (two) and Enda Smith before Niall Toner hit Derry’s first score of the second half after 43 minutes.

Derry then turned up the heat with points from half-time sub Ciaran McFaul, Ethan Doherty and Murray.

Roscommon had a chance to swing the game again, only for a vital Lynch block from Enda Smith.

With Derry in full flow, they closed the door on the visitors. They were clinical and when Murray slalomed through to power home a second goal, the icing was on the cake.

Conor Cox and James Fitzpatrick had late goal chances denied by Lynch as Derry eased to next Sunday’s date with Dublin.

“You need to be more consistent and playing at a higher level across the whole game,” Harte said of the performance.

“We have to learn as we go as well and obviously next week the level of our performance for the first 40-45 minutes (against Roscommon) wouldn’t leave us in a very good place.”


Derry O Lynch; C McCluskey, C McKaigue, D Baker; C Doherty, G McKinless, D Gilmore; C Glass (0-1), E McEvoy (0-1); E Doherty (0-4), D Cassidy (1-0), P Cassidy (0-2); C McGuckian, S McGuigan (0-4, 0-1 free), L Murray (1-4)

Subs B Rogers for G McKinless (8), C McFaul (0-1) for D Cassidy (ht), N Toner (0-1) for C McGuckian (ht), S Downey for C Doherty (57), M Downey for C Glass (63), C Murphy (0-1) for L Murray (63)

Yellow cards McCluskey (22), Rogers (37)

Roscommon C Carroll; D Murray, B Stack, P Gavin; N Daly (0-1), N Higgins, E McCormack (0-1); R Fallon, U Harney; D Ruane, E Smith (0-2), R Daly; D Cregg (0-1 free), D Murtagh (0-3, 0-2 frees), D Smith (1-0)

Subs S Cunnane for D Cregg (50), J Fitzpatrick for N Higgins (54), C Hussey for D Smith (54), C Cox (0-1) for U Harney (61), C Lennon for R Fallon (61)

Yellow cards Harney (55), Fitzpatrick (73)

Referee D Gough (Meath)