Derry 2-13 Mayo 1-6
Derry have enhanced their giant-killing reputation with a battling win over Mayo at Celtic Park.
And having ended Armagh’s All-Ireland challenge last weekend, Paddy Crozier’s men have every right to believe that they should fear no one.
John O’Mahony’s return to his native county has proved to be a traumatic homecoming, and as Oak Leaf delight filled the Derry air tonight, questions over just who might be prepared to pick up the pieces of another shattered Mayo season were shrouded in uncertainty.
Derry had the Connacht defence under pressure right from the throw-in, their support play and workrate opening up a series of scoring opportunities.
Barry McGoldrick, Conleth Gilligan and James Conway all hit the target, before Paddy Bradley, who was winning virtually everything against Liam O’Malley, converted a free for a 0-4 to 0-0 lead.
But within a minute Mayo were level. After a quarter of an hour, David Heaney’s searching delivery was fumbled by goalkeeper Barry Gillis, and giant full forward Barry Moran was on the spot to side-foot to the net from close range.
Conor Mortimer levelled from a free, but Derry eased back into a two points lead through Gilligan, from a free, and Colin Devlin.
Wing backs Heaney and Trevor Mortimer were beginning to press forward with purpose, and Moran, standing 6’ 5’’ tall, showed nimbleness and poise to kick two points, one off each foot. With a little more composure, however, he could have had a second goal, basting over with just the goalkeeper to beat
But Sean Marty Lockhart was supreme at the heart of the Derry defence, and Gilligan was on target again from a placed ball to send Derry in with a 0-8 to 1-3 interval lead.
Substitute Aidan Kilcoyne curled over a point within a minute of the restart, but once again, Derry carved open the westerners defence, Bradley sending sub Mark Lynch through on goal, but he dragged his shot wide at the far post when he really should have done better.
Derry were flagging, but Enda Muldoon’s switch to midfield had an instant effect. His fetch and give saw Conway send Devlin through to fist to the net in the 58th minute to revitalise their challenge and reopen a three points lead.
Bradley and substitute Raymond Wilkinson nailed on points to make it 1-10 to 1-6 going into the final 10 minutes.
Bradley brought his tally to five, and Muldoon capped Derry’s day of delight when he finished off a 12-pass move by audaciously lobbing goalkeeper David Clarke three minutes from the end.
Derry: B Gillis, M McGoldrick, K McCloy, G O’Kane, L Hinphey, SM Lockhart, F McEldowney, F Doherty, J Conway (0-1), B McGoldrick (0-1), P Murphy, E Muldoon (1-1), C Devlin (1-1), P Bradley (0-5, 2 frees), C Gilligan (0-3, 2 frees).
Subs: M Lynch for McGoldrick (29 mins), R Wilkinson (0-1) for Murphy (56), Patsy Bradley for Conway (60), P O’Hea for Hinphey (67), G Donaghy for Gilligan (70)
Mayo: D Clarke, T Cunniffe, L O’Malley, T Howley, D Heaney, D Kilkullen, T Mortimer, D Brady, P Harte, BJ Padden, P Hanley (0-1), A Dillon, C Mortimer (0-1, free), B Moran (1-1), A Moran (0-1.
Subs: A Kilkcoye (0-1) for Dillon (h-t) A Campbell for Kilcoyne (53), C McDonald for Campbell (59), K O’Neill for Padden (60).
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)