Hurling & Camogie

Derry prove too strong for Donegal in Allianz Hurling League derby clash in Letterkenny

Oak Leaf hurlers make it two wins from two in Division 2B

Derry's Cahal Murray
Derry's Cathal Murray celebrates after scoring a goal against Donegal in their Allianz Hurling League Division 2B match in Letterkenny on Saturday Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Allianz Hurling League Division 2B, round two
Donegal 0-19 Derry 2-20

DERRY’S fine early form in Division 2B continued on Saturday as they defeated Donegal by seven points in Letterkenny.

Derry eased past the challenge of Tyrone last time out while the hosts also came into this encounter with an impressive away win over Wicklow under their belt.

Donegal had the better of the early exchanges and went five clear at one stage but the Oak Leafers would lift matters and eventually go in all square at the midpoint.

But, in the end, two Derry goals in either half, went a long way in winning this one for Johnny McGarvey’s team.

Donegal had opened brightly and five successive overs, between ten minutes and the quarter-hour mark, put Mickey McCann’s side 0-8 to 0-3 ahead.

Gerard Gilmore and Stephen Gillespie had pushed the hosts two in front early on but a Paul Cleary effort soon had Derry off the mark on four minutes.

Ruairi Ó Mianain and Gilmore (free) traded points while successive Derry efforts from the hurls of Ó Mianain and Dara Mooney tied things up at three each.

Donegal then hit that purple patch as Gilmore landed a fine pair of frees while Liam McKinney, Conor Gartland and Josh Cronolly McGee also registered.

Cahal Murray and John Mullan stemmed the tide up the other end and it also took a superb block from Stephen McBride to deny Derry’s Meehaul McGrath an almost certain goal.

Rejuvenated Derry went toe to toe with Donegal during the remainder of the half and managed to tie matters up by the break.

McKinney did make it a four-point game at 0-9 to 0-5 but a Derry maximum, crashed in by Dara Mooney when Donegal were caught napping on a sideline puck, took the visitors back into one.

McKinney, McGee Cronolly and another Gilmore free left Donegal on 0-12 at the short whistle while replies from Cormac O’Reilly, Cormac O’Doherty, Ó Mianain and Murray meant Derry held parity with their 1-9 return.

Murray and Sean Ward were on the mark inside the opening moments of the second stanza but three successive Derry overs from O’Doherty, twice, and Mooney helped their team into a 1-13 to 0-13 lead.

Four more white flags, making it seven uninterrupted in total, would then propel Derry into a seven-point advantage by the 50th minute. O’Reilly, Callum O’Kane and an O’Doherty brace from frees, eased the visitors onto 1-17 with 20 minutes remaining.

Donegal attempted to rally and points from replacement Cormac Finn, Gilmore and ‘keeper Luke White (free), dragged their side onto 0-16. However, another substitute, Derry’s Darragh McGilligan, landed a fine double following his introduction.

Before the end, Derry would hammer home their superiority when Murray raised a second green flag for his side.

Sandwiched either side of that three-pointer, Gilmore managed to tag on three final Donegal points but no one could argue that Derry were the superior outfit on this day.

Donegal L White (0-1 free); C Bradley, S McBride, S Gillespie (0-1); C Curran, G Brown, J O’Loughlin; B MacIntyre, C Finn (0-1); C Gartland (0-1), R Hilferty, G Gilmore (0-9, 0-6 frees); S Ward (0-1), L McKinney (0-3), J McGee-Cronolly (0-2)

Subs C Finn for Kelly (42), B Lafferty for Hilferty (48), O Grant for Ward (56), O Marley for MacIntyre (58), C O’Brien for O’Loughlin (69)

Derry E Mullholland; S Duffin, M Craig, P Kelly; J Friel, R Mullan, M McGrath; C O’Doherty (0-5, 0-3 frees), R Ó Mianáin (0-2); C O’Reilly (0-2), J Mullan (0-1), C O’Kane (0-1); D Mooney (1-2), C Murray (1-3), Paul Cleary (0-1)

Subs D McGilligan (0-2) for Mullan (52), P Neilis (0-1) for Cleary (57), N Farren for Friel (65), T Brady for McGrath (67)

Referee Ciaran McCloskey (Antrim)