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Boss McGurk praises Derry edge and guile

Derry 8-21 Longford 1-14

By Steven Doherty

Derry manager Collie McGurk lauded his side's panache and ruthlessness as his side put Longford to the sword and progressed to the semi-final of the Nicky Rackard Cup on Saturday at Owenbeg.

The Oakleafers completed a 28-point routing of the O'Farrell County but it was the manner of their performance that best pleased McGurk.

"The last couple of weeks we showed signs of complacency," he said. "Today was important for us to play with a wee bit of style or panache and I think we did that. And a bit of ruthlessness too. The young fellow Brian Cassidy and Brendan Rogers have given us a cutting edge in there."

Derry made full use of the wind to run in 5-10 to 0-6 up at the break. Teenager Brian Cassidy put in a virtuoso performance in the full forward line, helping himself to 2-4 in the opening 35 minutes, while the Slaughtneil sharpshooter was ably supported by Alan Grant, Gerald Bradley and the returning Brendan Rogers who all scored goals.

Longford, recent winners of the Division 3B title, never wilted under that serious wave of Oakleaf pressure, with Reuben Murray hitting two fine points and Patrick Walsh nailing his three attempts at frees.

McGurk rang the changes at the interval, bringing on the quality trio of Brian Og McGilligan, Aaron Kelly andDerry football captain Chrissy McKaigue.

Ballinascreen man Kelly opened Derry's second half account shortly after the restart, with the first of his three points, but it was the visitors who briefly flickered the brightest.

But when Brendan Rogers buried his second major of the contest, the Oakleafers once again returned to that very clinical first half groove. Kevin Hinphey excelled in midfield for Derry throughout, while Sean Cassidy was the Oakleaf rock that many a Longford attack perished upon.

But the real fireworks burned brightest in attack with Rogers bagging his hat-trick before Alan Grant completed the turkey shoot when he scored Derry's eighth goal in the 65th minute. Points from substitutes Kelly, Eugene McGuckin and Chrissy McKaigue saw Derry home and dry.

Scorers:

Derry: Rogers 3-2, Grant 2-5 (0-4f), Cassidy 2-4, Bradley 1-2, Kelly 0-3, Hinphey, Cartin, Cleary, McGuckin and McKaigue 0-1 each

Longford: Walsh 0-8 (0-7f), Kiernan 1-0, Murray 0-2, Hannon 0-2, Mullane and Mulherne 0-1 each.

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