Walsh quits as Derry drive on

Derry 0-15 Sligo 0-08

Walsh quits as Derry drive on

The venue, just outside Dungiven, was hosting its first championship match and should it host them for 100 years, it’s likely that it will see few worse.

What it did see is Walsh’s final game in charge of Sligo. Roundly criticised in the wake of their defeat by London, Walsh initially told reporters they would have to “wait and see,” before later announcing his decision to quit.

Having reached the Connacht final last year, their fall at the first qualifiers hurdle this term was fairly listless, with the men in black never appearing to have the conviction to overcome a Derry side who were far from their best.

The false praise Derry earned off the back of their defeat by an equally swashbuckling Down was of no use to them. They abandoned the all-out attack of that afternoon in Celtic Park and put 12 men behind the ball, leaving at times just James Kielt and Lee Kennedy in the Sligo half.

Neither side counter-attacked at any great pace, making for what could be the most pedestrian clash of the championship.

Derry effectively won it in the first quarter, hitting seven unanswered points in a bright start. Lee Kennedy, left out against Down, was causing problems for the Yeats men as a one-man full-forward line, though they had six different scorers of those seven early points.

Sligo were completely off the pace in that early period but they did respond in the second quarter and, although they were still 0-9 to 0-3 behind at the interval, Derry had failed to kill them off.

The Connacht men could have been right back in it had their best goal chance not fallen the way of Charlie Harrison, whose shot was that of a corner-back, straight down the throat of Eoin McNicholl.

DERRY: E McNicholl; M Lynch (0-1, 0-1f), C McKaigue, D McBride; C Kielt, S L McGoldrick (0-1), D Brown; P Bradley, PJ McCloskey; C McAtamney, J Kielt, E Lynn (0-3); C McFaul (0-1), L Kennedy (0-4), R Bell (0-4).

Subs used: E Bradley (0-1) for McFaul (54 mins), E McGuckin for J Kielt (60), A McAlynn for McAtamney (63), B Gormley for Lynn (65), B McCallion for P Bradley (68).

SLIGO: P Greene; C Harrison, R Donovan, N Ewing; J Kelly, M Quinn, S McManus; J Kilcullen (0-1), B Egan; M Breheny (0-4, 0-3f), K Sweeney, P Hughes; D Kelly, A Marren (0-3, 0-3f), A McIntyre.

Subs used: K Cawley for McManus (half-time), F Quinn for Sweeney (43 mins), N Murphy for Hughes (53), K Byrne for Marren (62), S Gilmartin for Kilcullen (65).

Referee: Martin Higgins (Fermanagh).

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