Friday 19 January 2018

Brian McIver resigns as Derry bow out to Galway in qualifiers

Galway 1-11 Derry 0-07

Derry's Niall Holly in action against Michael Lundy of Galway at Pearse Stadium, Salthill, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Derry's Niall Holly in action against Michael Lundy of Galway at Pearse Stadium, Salthill, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Derry's Mark Lynch in action against Michael Lundy

Declan Rooney

Derry boss Brian McIver resigned as manager after he saw his side exit the football championship after a poor display against Galway last night.

Danny Cummins' goal seven minutes from time wrapped up the win, but McIver was left enraged when referee Conor Lane didn’t award Derry a penalty at the other end following a foul by Finian Hanley.

“I have given my life in terms of the GAA. I had to go into a bunch of players there and thank them for all of their work.

“I just can’t handle refereeing decisions like that any longer. I have had to step down,” said a furious McIver.

Galway won't win any beauty contests on this display, but this was a vital win in the development of Kevin Walsh's troops.

Played in a wet and windy Pearse Stadium handling the ball was night on impossible, but Galway qualified for Round 4B where they will play either Sligo, Donegal or Monaghan in two weeks' time.

Derry's Mark Lynch in action against Michael Lundy
Derry's Mark Lynch in action against Michael Lundy

But Galway won't care a hoot about the manner of this victory. It was dour, ugly football from both sides, but Galway were by far the better team, while the return of Shane Walsh for the last five minutes was also a huge boost to the Tribesmen.

Derry captain Mark Lynch surprised many of the 4600 in attendance by playing against the strong wind when he won the toss, but the bright start his side made showed it was a smart call.

As expected Derry elected to set up defensively and for the first four minutes they killed Galway's early enthusiasm by retaining possession, going across, over and back the field in search of an opening.

And when those chances came Derry pounced. Eoin Bradley got them up and running with a brilliant score from the left wing – perhaps a strange shot selection, but he was unerring in his accuracy.

Benny Heron's free after six minutes gave Derry a 0-2 to 0-0 lead and three minutes later Danny Heavron hooked over a great point from play after Fergal Doherty's quick hands made room for him.

An injury to Lynch midway through the first-half saw him switched into full-forward, but he was clearly hampered by the leg injury and limped along until the break, when he was replaced.

And while Galway worked out how to cope with Derry's ultra defensive, patient approach the minutes of their wind advantage ticked away. Gary Sice got them on the board in the 11th minute following a tug on Fiontán Ó Curraoin and the Tribesmen finally stalled Derry's progress.

A turn in Galway's fortunes came when they finally began to break even under the Derry kickouts after 15 minutes, up to then Derry had won all four. Sice kicked a free a minutes later and Paul Conroy kicked one from the left, which was moved closer for dissent, to level matters after 19 minutes.

Three more frees from Sice in four minutes gave the home side a decent cushion, but six minutes from the break the Tribesmen were boosted when Derry centre-back Brendan Rogers was black carded for a trip on Johnny Duane.

A well struck Conroy free from the left was Galway's seventh score in a row, but Derry's patience bore fruit when Heavron and Heron slotted points to put two between the sides.

But Galway would have been happy to lead 0-8 to 0-5 at the interval as they kicked their first point from play in the second minute of injury time: a brilliant point from the right by Gareth Bradshaw on the run.

Galway were far from the finish line with that three-point cushion though, and when Derry began to gain inroads down the Galway left flank the gap was soon down to one point.

Those two points left the home crowd uneasy and it took a great turnover from Cummins and the converted free that followed from Sice to see the belief return.

Sice was involved for the score of the game when his brilliant chip lift freed Gary O'Donnell, but Derry were angered eight minutes from time when O'Boyle was denied a certain penalty.

And their anger was doubled when Galway went straight up the field and Liam Silke linked twice with Cummins, who finished to the roof of the net.

Scorers –  Galway: G Sice 0-7 (7f), D Cummins 1-0, P Conroy 0-2 (2f) G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell 0-1. Derry: D Heavron 0-3, B Heron 0-2 (2f), E Bradley, C O'Boyle, N Forrester 0-1

Galway: B O'Donoghue; C Sweeney, F Hanley, J Duane; G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell, L Silke; F Ó Curraoin, T Flynn; G Sice, P Conroy, M Lundy; P Óg Ó Gríofa, D Comer, D Cummins. Subs: P Sweeney for Ó Gríofa (47), S Walsh for Conroy (65), S Denvir for Lundy (69), A Varley for Comer (69), M Martin for Cummins (70 BC).

Derry: T Mallon; O Duffy, D McBride, B Rogers; SL McGoldrick, C McKaigue, L McGoldrick; N Holly, F Doherty; B Heron, M Lynch, E Lynn; D Heavron, C O'Boyle, E Bradley. Subs: K McKaigue for B Rogers (30, BC), E McGuckin for Lynch (h-t), M McIver for L McGoldrick (53), P Bradley for N Holly (53), N Forrester for Lynn (61).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

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