Derry 3-13 Fermanagh 1-10: Derry boss Damian Barton admitted his side had suffered a McKenna Cup ‘hangover’ in the first half of Sunday’s nine-point Division 2 victory over Fermanagh at Celtic Park.
Barton’s Oak Leafers looked lethargic in the opening 35 minutes after last week’s extra-time exertions against Tyrone, and were lucky to be only one point adrift at the interval, 1-5 to 1-6.
Benny Heron’s superb 25th-minute goal gave them a foothold they scarcely deserved following Ruairi Corrigan’s excellent eighth-minute strike for Fermanagh. The introduction of Mark Lynch at half-time for the home side had an immediate effect, the Banagher player setting up Cailean O’Boyle for Derry’s second goal and then scoring the third himself as Derry hit 1-7 without reply.
“We were disappointed because we started very flat,” admitted Barton, “We gave an awful lot of ball away. Maybe there was a bit of a ‘hangover’.
“The McKenna Cup was good to us but at the same time it disrupted our arrangements in terms of preparations. We were flat at the start and that’s why. We gave serious ball away. I thought it was uncharacteristic . Our execution of basic skills was poor.”
With Emmett Bradley superb in midfield for the Oak Leafers, Derry again benefited from a direct approach as both the O’Boyle and Lynch goals came from high passes in toward the square.
“In fairness, Ryan Bell did a very good job at midfield, particularly in the early stages of the second half while Emmett (Bradley) is maturing but he was fairly strong. It is a steep learning curve for young players.”
The game hinged on a 90-second spell early in the second half. Level at 1-7, Bradley’s high pass saw Lynch break the ball down for O’Boyle to finish into an empty net. Lynch and Ryan Bell added points to take the game away from Fermanagh.
T Mallon; K McKaigue, C McKaigue, C Mullan; N Forester, G McKinless, C McFaul; E Bradley (0-2), C McAtamney (0-1); C Kearns, J Kielt (0-4, 4f), B Heron (1-0); D Heavron, C O’Boyle, R Bell (1-3, 1f).
C Bradley (0-1) for C Kearns, 29; M Lynch (1-2, 1f) for C McAtamney, H/T; M Craig for N Forester, 43; S Heavron for B Heron, 46; D McKinless for E Bradley, 65; J Morgan for G McKinless, 69.
C Snow; M Jones, A Breen (0-1), C Cullen; D McCusker (0-1), J McMahon, D Kelly; E Donnelly, C Jones; B Mulrone, R Corrigan (1-1), P McCusker; C Flaherty, S Quigley (0-2, 1f), T Corrigan (0-3, 3f).
R Jones for C Flaherty, H/T’; E McManus for C Jones, 55;R Hanna (0-1) for R Corrigan, 63.
Marty Duffy (Sligo).
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