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Barton keen for his men to show grit as Derry hit the bottom

Galway 5-15 Derry 2-15

By Ciaran McGreal

Damian Barton feels his Derry side will need to win their remaining two games to avoid relegation to Division Three of the National Football League after suffering a nine-point defeat to Galway in Tuam Stadium.

Derry find themselves bottom of Division Two and play host to Cork next weekend before travelling to Fermanagh.

"This League is crazy," said Barton.

"If we had won we would probably have gone third. You come out to win and we need to win our last two matches."

The hosts made the perfect start as Danny Cummins found the net on three minutes.

Derry had the breeze behind them in the opening half but after 16 minutes, they found themselves 1-5 to 0-4 behind.

This deficit was short-lived though as Derry roared back. Niall Loughlin, Benny Heron and James Kielt all raised white flags before Heron notched his side's opening goal in the 23rd minute.

Two more points from Loughlin put the Oak Leafs 1-9 to 1-5 up after 27 minutes. Galway looked to reply and got a great chance in the 29th minute as referee Rory Hickey awarded a penalty after a foot block by Niall Keenan.

Barry McHugh stepped up but Derry goalkeeper Thomas Mallon (pictured) pulled off a brilliant save.

McHugh pointed the resulting '45' thus bringing an end to Galway's 14-minute scoring drought.

Derry's Enda Lynn and Galway's Gary Sice exchanged points before McGuckin bagged the Oak Leafs' second goal in the 34th minute.

But crucially for Galway, Tom Flynn popped up with a vital goal on the stroke of half-time to narrow the deficit to just three points at the interval.

Galway had the breeze behind them after the break as they looked to wipe out Derry's lead. Kielt stretched that lead to four points before a scoring spree from Galway brought them level. Daly notched a point either side of an Eamonn Brannigan effort before the excellent Flynn landed the equaliser in the 44th minute to tie the game up at 2-11 apiece.

Kielt kicked his fifth point before Carlus McWilliams and Danny Tallon both got on the score-sheet with well taken points.

These scores saw Derry re-establish their three-point lead after 53 minutes.

Galway captain Gary O'Donnell began to grow into the game and he drove forward from defence to pop a point over before Brannigan closed the gap to just a point in the 58th minute.

Heaney notched a crucial goal for Galway on the hour mark to put his side two points up before Heron pointed to close the gap to the minimum. This proved to be Derry's last score as Galway turned the screw.

Oisin Hegarty received his marching orders in the 64th minute as the corner back was shown a black card for a foul on Michael Daly. Hegarty had been already yellow carded and was hence shown a red.

From the resulting penalty, Brannigan scored Galway's fourth goal to give them some breathing space.

And substitute Shane Walsh put the result beyond doubt with Galway's fifth goal in injury-time. A point apiece from Walsh and Brannigan followed to put some polish on the scoreline.

McGuckin had a late chance to reduce the margin but his penalty was well saved.

Galway: R Lavelle; L Burke, D Walsh, C Sweeney; G O'Donnell 0-1, G Bradshaw, J Heaney 1-1; P Conroy, F Ó Curraoin; G Sice 0-2 (0-1f), T Flynn 1-1, E Brannigan 1-3 (1-0 pen); D Cummins 1-1, M Daly 0-3, B McHugh 0-2 (0-1 '45).

Subs: S Walsh 1-1 for Cummins (50m), M Lundy for Sice (55m), M Farragher for Bradshaw (57m), L Silke for Heaney (70m), F Hanley for Burke (72m), E Tierney for Conroy (74m).

Derry: T Mallon; C McGrogan, C Nevin, N Keenan; M McEvoy, M Craig, N Forester; C McAtamney, J Kielt 0-5 (0-3f); D Tallon 0-1, B Heron 1-2, C McWilliams 0-1; E Lynn 0-1, E McGuckin 1-0, N Loughlin 0-5 (0-2f, 0-1 '45).

Subs: O Hegarty for McGrogan (20m), R Bell for Loughlin (50m), C Kielt for Nevin (50m), P Hagan for Tallon (66m), J Rocks for McAtamney (69m).

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