Friday 23 March 2018

Walsh steps down as Kennedy and Bell help scalp wasteful Sligo

Derry 0-15 Sligo 0-8

Sligo manager Kevin Walsh yesterday
Sligo manager Kevin Walsh yesterday

Kevin Walsh stepped down as Sligo manager after Derry had little trouble in claiming their scalp at Owenbeg.

Kevin Walsh stepped down as Sligo manager after Derry had little trouble in claiming their scalp at Owenbeg.

Four points from Lee Kennedy and Ryan Bell helped Brian McIver's side to the win, but successive championship defeats to London and Derry ultimately cost Walsh his job.

Derry kicked 14 of their 15 points from play in an excellent display, but Sligo wasted a host of chances and were beaten by a far greater margin than they should have been.

After losing to Down in the Ulster championship, Derry boss McIver was thrilled to see his side go into the hat for this morning's Round 2 draw and paid tribute to his side's attitude.

"We are very happy with that. First round of the qualifiers is a nervous occasion, you really don't know how players will respond to going out of the Ulster championship. But we went with a very young side, we knew we were taking a chance, but it is a very good competition to breed players. If we can get a bit of momentum going here, what better way for them to learn championship football," said the former Donegal manager.


Sligo were perhaps a little naive in their approach to the game. It is to their credit that they conceded only two frees in the second half – Derry fouled 15 times in that period – but in retaining their discipline they allowed Derry to score at will.

And after losing to London in the Connacht championship and with another defeat in the qualifiers, Sligo boss Walsh first refused to be drawn on his future, but later told his players that he would not be carrying on for another season.

"I haven't even seen the players yet so we'll see what happens," said Walsh, before making his announcement to the dressing room.

"Maybe when you have lost in the first round of the championship, the qualifiers can be quite difficult. When the draw came out this was as difficult as it was going to get, away to Derry, and we needed to take our chances," said the former Galway star.

Derry did take their chances though, especially in the opening quarter when they landed seven unanswered points to open out a massive lead by the 15th minute.

Sligo did manage a mini comeback with points from Adrian Marren and James Kilcullen, but Charlie Harrison missed a good goal chance before the break that would have lifted the Yeats men with the wind at their back in the second half. Marren and Mark Breheny tagged on a couple of quick frees after the restart, but once Derry responded with two of their own, the result was almost a certainty.

And McIver reckons the victory was largely built on a solid defensive display, which Derry have been criticised for in the past.

"Derry have a lot of good players, but a lot of them don't think defensively. We have to start and change that mindset. That was very good today. In the qualifiers, no matter who you get, if you get a home venue and you can get through the first round, you are always in there," said McIver.

Scorers – Derry: L Kennedy, R Bell 0-4 each, E Lynn 0-3, M Lynch (1f), C McFaul, E Bradley, S L McGoldrick 0-1 each.

Sligo: M Breheny 0-4 (3fs), A Marren 0-3 (3fs), J Kilcullen 0-1.

Derry – E McNicholl 7; M Lynch 7, C McKaigue 8, D McBride 7; C Kielt 7, S L McGoldrick 7, D Brown 7; P Bradley 7, PJ McCloskey 7; C McAtamney 6, J Kielt 8, E Lynn 8; C McFaul 7, L Kennedy 9, R Bell 8. Subs: E Bradley 7 for McFaul (53), E McGuckin 6 for J Kielt (59), A McAlynn 6 for McAtamney (63), B Gormley 6 for Lynn (65), B McCallion 6 for P Bradley (68)

Sligo – P Greene 7; C Harrison 7, R Donovan 6, N Ewing 7; J Kelly 6, M Quinn 6, S McManus 6; J Kilcullen 7, B Egan 7; M Breheny 8, K Sweeney 6, P Hughes 6; D Kelly 6, A Marren 6, A McIntyre 7. Subs: K Cawley 6 for McManus (h-t), F Quinn 6 for Sweeney (44), N Murphy 6 for Hughes (53), K Byrne 6 for Marren (62), S Gilmartin 6 for Kilcullen (65).

Ref – M Higgins (Fermanagh)

Irish Independent

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