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Oak Leafers defy critics to get off the mark

Derry 0-14 Monaghan 0-8

Derry manager John Brennan was in defiant mood at Celtic Park on Saturday evening after his side claimed their first two league points of the season with a comprehensive win over Monaghan.

The Oak Leaf side had come under criticism for their performances in defeats by Galway and Tyrone and Brennan felt his players had silenced the nay-sayers.

“You have to respect and support players. I just hope some of the people who were saying that some of this panel aren't good enough and writing bits and pieces and saying things like ‘we've never had a centre half-back since such-and-such retired 20 years ago’, effectively eat their words. “We'd two bad matches in February but we are a developing team,” he said.

In fairness to Brennan he has had to deal with a massive list of injuries with 13 players out for various reasons and there's no doubt that the return of some key individuals was a factor in Saturday evening's win.

“Yes, we'd a better balance to our team. You'd Gerard O'Kane, Mark Craig and Barry McGoldrick back and I could go on,” he said.

With only one home game (at home to Louth) and three difficult away fixtures against Kildare, Westmeath and Meath remaining, Derry still have some work to do to secure their Division Two status but this win will have restored confidence.

“Monaghan are a very good team, Eamonn McEneaney's a good manager and I'm looking forward to next weekend,” said Brennan.

Confidence will have been garnered not only from the result but the manner of it. Derry needed a win to avoid being dragged in to a relegation dogfight but they didn't look like a struggling side in a match they controlled from start to finish.

With the Oak Leafers playing with the wind at their backs and the visitors at times playing 13 men inside their own 45, Derry led 0-9 to 0-3 half-time lead.

Parity was restored in one instant with the sending off of Derry wing-forward Neil Forester for a second yellow card but the hosts remained in control on both the pitch and scoreboard.

Derry: B Gillis; B McCallion, C McKaigue, A McAlynn, M Craig (0-1), M Bateson (0-2), SL McGoldrick (0-1), M Friel, PJ McCloskey, N Forrester, G O’Kane, BMcGoldrick (0-1), M Lynch (0-2, 1f), P Bradley (0-6, 3f), E Lynn (0-1). Subs: C Kielt for M Bateson (47), C Gilligan for Lynn (62), E McGuckin for Lynch, Patsy Bradley for Paddy Bradley (68).

Monaghan: M Keogh; V Corey, Darren Hughes (0-1), C Walsh, D Malone, D Mone, David Hughes, E Lennon, D Clerkin, M McKenna, D Morgan, J Turley, P Finlay (0-2, 2f), K Hughes (0-2), E Duffy (0-1, f). Subs: T Freeman (0-1) for David Hughes (ht), C Duffy for C Walsh (47), C McGuinnes for E Duffy (49)

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).

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