Convery punishes lacklustre Mourne men
Derry cruised to victory over a lacklustre Down in this semi-final at Casement Park yesterday -- with the Oak Leaf county well on top in all departments.
They raced into a 0-7 to 0-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes and Down struggled to stay in contention after that. Both 'keepers were in excellent form -- Graham Clarke made four magnificent saves, while his Derry counterpart Daryl McDermott denied Paul Braniff twice and Scott Nicholson.
Derry moved the ball quickly and their star man was full-forward Ruairi Convery, who scored nine points, two coming from frees. Oisin McCloskey and Kevin Hinphey dominated midfield, with Liam Hinphey and Conor Quinn excellent in defence.
Down's attack relied heavily on Braniff -- who scored seven of their points -- while Paul Keith worked hard at midfield. However they had to play the final 15 minutes with 14 players when Liam Conway was sent off for two yellow card offences. And things got even worse for them when Ben Toner also saw red with the last action of the game.
The Mourne men's opening point came midway through the half from Braniff, who soon added two more, as they tried to fight back, but Derry still went in at half-time leading 0-13 to 0-7.
Braniff was in the thick of things again, scoring two points quickly after the restart to give Down some hope, but it was in vain as Convery registered four scores for Derry, with Alan Grant and Conor Quinn also getting in on the act.
The brilliant goalkeeping was the highlight of a game that failed to ignite, with Derry easing their way in to next Sunday's final against Antrim in Casement Park.
SCORERS -- Derry: R Convery 0-9 (3fs), O McCloskey, P Henry, A Grant 0-3 each, K Hinphey 0-2, P Kelly, P McCloskey, C Quinn, L Craig 0-1 each. Down: P Braniff 0-7 (2fs 1 '65'), P Keith, S Nicholson 0-2 each, M Turley, P Sheehan 0-1 each.
Derry -- D McDermott 8; S McCullagh 7, C Quinn 8, M Warnock 7; R McCloskey 8, L Hinphey 8, C McSorley 8; O McCloskey 8, K Hinphey 8; P Henry 7, P McCloskey 7, A Grant 7; S Farren 7, R Convery 9, P Kelly 8. Subs: L Craig 6 for Kelly (51), S McGuigan 6 for Farren (51), B Quigley 6 for P McCloskey (65), J McCloskey for L Hinphey (68).
Down -- G Clarke 8; J Smyth 6, M Hughes 6, S Ennis 6; B Toner 7, C Woods 7, F Conway 6; A Savage 6, P Keith 6; D Hobbs 6, M Ennis 6, E Clarke 7; A O'Prey 6, P Braniff 8, M Turley 6. Subs: C Mageean 6 for Hobbs (41); P Sheehan 6 for Turley (54); S Nicholson 7 for O'Prey (54); D McManus 6 for Savage (54).
Ref -- P Murphy (Carlow).