Sunday 18 March 2018

Derry to meet Kerry in decider


Derry will meet Kerry in the final following a gutsy display which saw off Ulster rivals Down 0-23 to 2-12 at Owenbeg yesterday. Ruairi Convery and Paul Cleary belted over the vital scores in the second half after the Oak Leafers had conceded two goals early in each half.

The winning margin could have been greater but for the heroics of Down goalkeeper Stephen Keith, who pulled off brilliant second-half saves from Patrick McCloskey and Jonathan O'Dwyer. Gareth 'Magic' Johnson flicked home a ninth-minute goal from Steven Dineen's delivery, but Derry responded with scores from Convery, Cleary and Paddy Henry.

The scores were level on five occasions in the first half, with Dineen hitting a couple for the wind-assisted visitors, before Cleary's fourth from play eased the Oak Leafers back in front. Late in the half, three long-range frees from Johnson, one a monster effort from 85 metres, eased Down into a 1-8 to 0-10 interval lead. Down grabbed a second goal through James Coyle, but Convery and Cleary were on top form with their finishing, and a combined total of 13 points helped secure Derry's place in the final.

Meanwhile, Mikey Boyle scored four goals as Kerry hammered Kildare 6-27 to 0-9 in the other semi-final. The Ballyduff marksman got three in the first half and grabbed fourth in the second as Kildare failed to raise a gallop. From the moment Boyle took a pass off his brother Padraig and rattled the net, there was no doubt about who would win.

The hosts did seem to settle in briefly and points from Declan Flaherty, Martin Fitzgerald and Mark Delaney had them trailing by just that Boyle major. The margin had increased to seven by the time he scored his second and it was 3-13 to 0-3 at half-time.

Shane Nolan, Boyle and Colum Harty added goals in the second half, and the margin could have been even greater.

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