Derry now needing miracle to avoid the drop after Monaghan defeat
Monaghan 0-15 Derry 0-10
Derry manager Brian McIver has craved a rub of the green since the outset of the Allianz Football League but now he is hoping for a mathematical miracle.
Nothing short of this will help his side retain their Division One status following a fourth defeat in five outings against Monaghan at Clones yesterday.
If luck tended to desert the Oak Leaf side at intervals to date, McIver conceded that Monaghan's greater cohesion and staying power proved decisive.
"Maybe had we taken our chances things might have been different but you would have to say that Monaghan deserved their win," said McIver. "I thought we played well and we were unfortunate to have what looked like a goal disallowed."
A master-class in finishing from skipper Conor McManus and wing-back Dessie Mone, a sustained effort from Neil McAdam at midfield and clever covering by Drew Wylie and Fintan Kelly at the back garnished a workmanlike Monaghan performance.
The Derry attack never quite functioned with a palpable level of cohesion and it was left to McManus to bring his individual brilliance to the surface.
The Oak Leaf side managed to peg their hosts to a two-point advantage in the third quarter (0-9 to 0-7) but McManus and Paul Finlay swept over important scores to ensure sufficient daylight remained between the teams.
Derry were denied what could have been a crucial score when McGuckin finished a Heron pass in the 62nd minute but he was ruled to have been in the square when he played the ball.
Monaghan subsequently closed out the game in clinical fashion with the imposing McManus to the fore in a late salvo.
Monaghan: R Beggan; C Boyle, V Corey, D Wylie; D Mone 0-4, F Kelly 0-1, K O'Connell; N McAdam, D Hughes; R Wylie, P Finlay 0-2, D Malone; T Kerr, K Hughes 0-2, C McManus 0-6 (1f). Subs: K Duffy for Boyle (30), S Gollogly for Kerr(h/t), D McKenna for Finlay (60), O Duffy for McAdam (62). Yellow card: Wyle (53).
Derry: T Mallon; O Duffy, N Holly, D McBride; B Og McAlarey, K Johnston, S L McGoldrick; M Craig, B Og McGilligan; B Herron 0-2, M Lynch 0-4 (3f), E Lynn 0-1, D McKinless, E McGuckin 0-1, C McWilliams 0-1. Subs: M McIver for McAlarey (29), Eoin Bradley for McKinless (29), J Kielt 0-1 for Eoin Bradley (h/t), Emmet Bradley for McGilligan (53), A McAlynn for McWilliams (68). Yellow cards: Herron (62), McWilliams (68).
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).