Timely win for Derry

Derry 0-14 Monaghan 0-8, Celtic Park

Derry 0-14 Monaghan 0-8, Celtic Park

Derry got themselves off the foot of the Division 2 table with a timely Ulster derby win over Monaghan.

Derry cantered into a 0-9 to 0-3 interval lead at Celtic Park with Monaghan’s Matthew McKenna sent off for a second booking.

Paddy Bradley led by example, hammering over a succession of scores as Derry’s direct style, quick thinking and accurate shooting saw them prosper.

The visitors improved with the addition of Tommy Freeman, but a second half comeback never really materialised.

Monaghan, who impressed when beating Kildare last time out, were just not at the races in the opening quarter of tonight’s tie.

They allowed the Oak Leafers far too much latitude in what was a slow-burning first half dictated by John Brennan’s home side.

Paddy Bradley sent Derry in front before Mark Lynch converted a ninth minute free, and wing back Michael Bateson got on the end of a team move for the third point.

After Bradley left-footed his second score of the night, Bateson turned provider to set up corner forward Enda Lynn for a neat finish and a five-point advantage.

Paul Finlay finally opened the visitors’ account with a 20th minute free, but full-forward Bradley was a commanding presence for Brennan’s men.

The former All-Star landed three points in-a-row, including two frees, to extend Derry’s advantage to 0-8 to 0-1 with just six minutes remaining in the half.

Monaghan’s laboured build-up play was letting them down at this stage and they suffered a significant setback when wing forward McKenna was dismissed.

The sending-off came just when it looked like the Farney men were beginning to find some rhythm, with captain Darren Hughes and Eoin Duffy sending over points and Tommy Freeman about to be introduced.

Barry McGoldrick landed Derry’s final point of the half from the 50-metre range to leave six between the sides as they headed for the dressing rooms.

It looked like more of the same when Bateson put the hosts into double figure soon after the restart, but Monaghan dug their heels in and made a game of it.

Two quick-fire scores from the returning Freeman and Kieran Hughes made it 0-10 to 0-5, yet Derry were brimming with confidence and not about to let their lead slip.

Bradley kept them on course with a free from an acute angle, and substitute Charlie Kielt announced his arrival on the pitch with a point when others may have opted to go for goal.

Points were enough for Derry on the night though, as closing efforts from Sean Leo McGoldrick and Lynch put the seal on the hosts’ first victory of the league campaign.

They had to see out the result with only 14 men after wing forward Neill Forrester picked up his second yellow card.

Dermot Malone and Kieran Hughes both pointed to reduce the arrears to five again, with the visitors working harder on the ball.

But Derry stopper Barry Gillis snuffed out Monaghan’s best goal chance when denied the advancing Darren Hughes, who continued to raid forward from the back.

An interception in midfield set up Lynch for the final point of the night, as Derry recaptured some of their better form following opening defeats to Galway and Tyrone.

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