Lethal Derry demolish Down

Derry cruised to an 11-points victory over Down in this tame Ulster SHC semi-final in Casement Park yesterday.

On top in all departments, the Oak Leaf men showed all their hurling talents throughout the game as they eased away from the opposition.

They raced into a 0-7 to 0-0 lead in the opening ten minutes and thereafter Down were struggling to stay in contention. While the game produced no goals, both keepers were in excellent form.

Down custodian Graham Clarke, recalled from retirement, brought off four magnificent saves while his Derry counterpart, Darryl McDermott, who was third choice keeper was also in excellent form.

With regular keeper Oisin Doherty and his deputy Barry Robinson both injured, Derry were forced to bring McDermott home from Scotland, where he is working and he paid for his plane fare with those great saves.

Derry played as a unit throughout, moving the ball quickly. Star of the side was full-forward Ruairí Convery who completed the game with nine of his side’s points, including two from frees and along with Paddy Henry and Paddy Kelly they certainly gave the Down defence a testing time.

Oisin McCloskey and Kevin Hinphey dominated midfield with Liam Hinphey and Conor Quinn excelling in defence.

Down’s attack relied on Paul Braniff who scored seven of their points while Paul Keith worked hard in midfield. In defence Conor Woods and Sean Ennis worked hard.

However, they had to play the final 15 minutes with 14 players when Liam Conway was red carded for two yellow card offences and the same fate befell Ben Toner with the last action of the game.

Down’s opening point came midway through the half from Paul Braniff who added two more as Down began a fight back. Points were exchanged at random with Derry leading by 0-13 to 0-7 at half-time.

Two Paul Braniff points in the three minutes after half time gave Down some hope but Ruairi Convey lobbed over four for Derry with Alan Grant adding two.

The game was dead after that with Derry easing though to next week’s final against Antrim in Casement Park.

Scorers for Derry: R Convery 0-9 (3fs), O McCloskey, P Henry, A Grant 0-3 each, K Hinphey 0-2, P Kelly, P McCloskey, C Quinn, L Craig 0-1 each.

Scorers for Down: P Braniff 0-7 (2fs, 1 65), P Keith, S Nicholson 0-2 each, M Turley, P Sheehan 0-1 each.

DERRY: D McDermott; S McCullagh, C Quinn, M Warnock; R McCloskey, L Hinphey, C McSorley; O McCloskey, K Hinphey; P Henry, P McCloskey, A Grant; S Farren, R Convery, P Kelly.

Subs: L Craig for Kelly (51), S McGuigan for Farren (51); B Quigley for McCloskey (65), J McCloskey for Hinphey (68).

DOWN: G Clarke; J Smyth, M Hughes, S Ennis; B Toner, C Woods, F Conway; A Savage, P Keith; D Hobbs, M Ennis, E Clarke; A O’Prey, P Braniff, M Turley.

Subs: C Mageean for D Hobbs (41), P Sheehan for M Turley (54), S Nicholson for A O’Prey (54), D McManus for A Savage (54).

Referee: P Murphy (Carlow).

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