Derry set up Down semi-final clash

Armagh 1-17 Derry 4-14

Armagh 1-17 Derry 4-14

Derry grabbed the all-important goals at the Athletic grounds today to qualify for an Ulster SHC semi-final clash with Down.

Two goals in each half, two each for Ruairi Convery and Paddy McCloskey, proved the key to victory for an Oak Leaf side that used its experience to avoid a shock.

Armagh, on the back of their Nicky Rackard Cup triumph, went into the game with a quiet confidence that they could cause an upset, but were always chasing the game once the visitors got in for their opening goal.

Derry got an early boost with a Ruairi Convery goal after just four minutes, but Armagh quckly picked up the pace of the game, hitting back with points from David Carvill and Cathal Carvill.

It was the Oak Leafers, however, who held the edge in vital areas, and when midfielder Oisin McCloskey powered over three points, they led by five.

Derry goalkeeper Oisin O’Doherty twice had to come to his side’s rescue with excellent saves.

First he reacted sharply to keep out a John Corvan snapshot, and when Conor Corvan cut in from the left to fire in a shot, he once again responded by turning the ball around a post.

Derry had to strike from long distance, such was the dominance of Liam Hinphey and Conor Quinn at the heart of the Derry defence, and they did pick off some neat scores through Paul McCormack and Ryan Gaffney.

But they conceded a second goal in the 33rd minute, Paddy McCloskey getting on the end of a Ruairi McCloskey delivery to hit the net.

McCloskey charged through to net his second goal just 15 seconds into the second half, and while Armagh once again responded with a string of points, from David Carvill and Fiachra Bradley, they conceded a fourth goal on 44 minutes.

It was Convery who flicked Shane Farren’s delivery to the net for his second goal, opening out a 10 points gap.

Armagh battled to get themselves back in the game, and did pull back points through Ruairi McGrattan, Cathal Carvill and Paul McCormack, but goals were beyond them, thanks to the efforts of Michael Warnock and Quinn at the back for the Oak Leafers.

And despite losing full back Quinn to a second yellow card, Derry held firm to secure their place in the semi-final.

Paddy Henry and Paul Cleary both floated over points as Ger Rogan’s side steered a confident course to a semi-final clash with Down.

Armagh scorers: R McGrattan 1-1 (1-1f), D Carvill 0-6 (5f), C Carvill 0-4, P McCormack 0-2 (1f), J Corvan, F Bradley, M Lennon, R Gaffney 0-1 each.

Derry scorers: R Convery 2-2, P McCloskey 2-1, P Henry (2f), O McCloskey 0-3 each, K Hinphey 0-2, A Grant, S Farren, P Cleary 0-1 each.

Armagh: S Doherty, P Hughes, C Clifford, J Corvan, K McKernan, N Curry, P Gaffney, R McGrattan, J King, D Carvill, C Carvill, R Gaffney, D Coulter, P McCormack, C Corvan.

Subs: F Bradley for Coulter, M Lennon for D Carvill, A Carville for Curry

Derry: O O’Doherty, S McCullagh, C Quinn, M Warnock, R McCloskey, L Hinphey, C McSorley, O McCloskey, K Hinphey, P Henry, P McCloskey, A Grant, C Convery, R Convery, S Farren.

Subs: P Cleary for C Convery, B Quigley for Farren, L Craig for Henry, J McCloskey for McSorley

Referee: G Duffy (Antrim).

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