Tuesday 20 November 2018

'Brutal' Derry fail to satisfy Brennan

DERRY 1-18
Ulster SFC

Liam Kelly

Rarely has so comprehensive a victory been greeted with so little praise by a manager -- but Derry boss John Brennan won't apologise to anyone for his uncompromising verdict on this match.

"That was a brutal second half by any standards, by our standards in particular," he said. "If we want to gather up momentum among the Derry support, we have to perform for 70 minutes. That there will not do. We have work to do. Those fellas are very talented, but it's the work ethic I'm talking about.

"The elementary mistakes that were committed by very good players are not acceptable to me, but we'll work on it. We have four weeks and things will get better."

Brennan is not intent on wasting any time moulding Derry into a serious championship force. Even with his side cleverly using the huge advantage of a strong breeze in the first half to build a 1-12 to 0-2 interval lead, he wasn't happy.

And he certainly wasn't satisfied that Derry tacked on only six more points in the second half, while Fermanagh salvaged some pride by notching up 1-8.

The reality, however, was that Fermanagh, fielding six championship debutants, were always on the back foot once ace forward Eoin Bradley scored Derry's goal in the ninth minute. At that point, each side had one point on the scoreboard, but for the next 15 minutes it was virtually one-way traffic towards the Fermanagh goal.

Credit to Derry -- they lorded it at midfield where Enda Muldoon, Joe Diver and Michael Friel were dominant in the first half, and played intelligent ball into the forwards. Bradley, Conleth Gilligan and Sean Leo McGoldrick utilised the possession to good advantage, and even the defenders got into the act.


By half-time, 10 of the Derry side had got their names on the scoresheet, including corner-back Michael Bateson, and the half-back line of Gerard O'Kane, Charlie Kielt and Enda Muldoon.

It never felt like a game that Fermanagh had any chance in, bar the opening six minutes when they moved the ball well in a series of attacks against the breeze.

Barry Mulrone, wearing the No 7 jersey but playing as centre-back and all over the defence in his bid to plug the holes that kept opening up, was the Fermanagh star, but once Bradley powered a left-foot shot into the net after nine minutes, Derry took over.

Fermanagh did manage two goal opportunities against the head in quick succession between the 23rd and 25th minutes.

First, Martin O'Brien and Tomas Corrigan linked up together to give half-back Corrigan the chance to wriggle his way close to goal, but as he shot, the ball scuffled wide. It looked as if his foot might have been caught by a Derry defender illegally, but it certainly wasn't clear-cut.

Two minutes later Brian Og Maguire pierced the Derry back line and launched a piledriver of a shot, only to see the ball cannon off the upright.

If either of those attempts had hit the net, Fermanagh might have had more hope, but within the first seven minutes of the second half, Derry had extended their lead to 16 points -- 1-15 to 0-2 -- before Fermanagh's Daniel Kille pointed from a free.

And then the game got slightly more interesting when Fermanagh corner-back John Woods crashed home a superb shot on the run for a morale-boosting goal after 46 minutes.

At 1-16 to 1-3, the mountain certainly wasn't going to come to Mohammad, but in fairness, Fermanagh found enough faith in their game to nick the next three scores, with points by Ryan Jones, Chris O'Brien and Kille from a free.

A 58th-minute point by Gilligan eroded hopes of a revival -- with an 11-point gap between the sides at that stage, it was game over barring a miracle which didn't happen.

Fermanagh manager John O'Neill spoke of his side's naivete in their use of wind advantage in the second half, and he was right. Fermanagh had only four wides in the first half, but hit 12 in the second period.

Some of these were caused by over-hitting long passes forward, but among the tally were a few frees and shots missed from decent positions

"They'll learn from that and I suppose ultimately it showed the fact that we were operating in Division 4 this year and they were operating in Division 2," said O'Neill.

Man of the Match: Eoin Bradley (Derry)

Scorers -- Derry: E Bradley 1-4, C Gilligan 0-3, E Muldoon, J Diver, M Bateson, G O'Kane 0-2 each, M Lynch, SL McGoldrick, C Kielt 0-1 each. Fermanagh: D Kille 0-5 (3f, 1 '45), J Woods 1-0, R Jones 0-2, T Flanagan, C O'Brien , B Mulrone 0-1 each.

DERRY -- D Devlin 7; M Bateson 7, K McCloy 7, D McBride 7; G O'Kane 7, C Kielt 7, E Muldoon 8; J Diver 7, M Friel 7; M Lynch 7, C O'Boyle 7, E McGuckian 7; SL McGoldrick 7, E Bradley 8, C Gilligan 7. Subs: B Og McAlary 6 for E Muldoon (48), PJ McCloskey 6 for M Friel (54), C McGoldrick 6 for C O'Boyle (59), K McGuckin 6 for C Kielt (62), D Mulholland for E McGuckian (66).

FERMANAGH -- J McGrath 6; J Woods 5, B Owens 5, M Jones 5; M O'Brien 5, H Brady 6, B Mulrone 7; K Cosgrove 5, R Jones 5; T O'Flanagan 6, B Og Maguire 6, P Ward 5; T Corrigan 6, D Kille 6, S Quigley 6. Subs: J O'Flanagan 6 for T O'Flanagan (40), C O'Brien 6 for P Ward (41), R O'Callaghan 6 for K Cosgrove (53), N Cassidy 6 for H Brady (60).

Ref -- J McQuillan (Cavan).

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport