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Derry win to secure big semi-final clash

By John Campbell

Derry 1-17 St Mary's 0-14: Derry booked their place in the semi-final of the McKenna Cup with a hard-earned win over a plucky St. Mary's side at Owenbeg last night.

The Oak Leafers will face Tyrone in Omagh after they won last night's game by six but lost the subsequent toss for home venue in the semi-final.

Aaron Kerrigan, after a man of the match performance against Fermanagh on Sunday, was again the star for Derry, looking sharp as his team racked up 1-7 in the opening 35 minutes.

It was St. Mary's who made the early running though, with Thomas Canavan impressing from centre-forward. The Errigal Ciaran man hit four points as he led them into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead.

Momentum swung in Derry's favour when St. Mary's wing-back Michael Hynes was stretchered off with a serious looking knee injury.

Barely 90 seconds later, Derry had the only goal of the game. Ciaran McGoldrick did the donkey work by stealing the ball in front of the students' goal and handing it on a plate to Anthony O'Neill.

Kerrigan might have had a second major before the break but having punched poorly, St. Mary's 'keeper Darragh McAnenly redeemed himself with a tip over, leaving it 1-7 to 0-7 at half-time.

It was a good end to the half from Derry, for whom Niall Holly proved a valuable outfit as in a sort-of third midfielder role.

Derry were never quite able to make themselves comfortable though, and with Kevin McKernan coming more and more into the game for St. Mary's, the gap never stretched beyond the visitors until the final 10 minutes.

St. Mary's manager Paddy Tally, who is also a coach with Derry under Brian McIver, would have been pleased that the services of the well-established Fergal Doherty and Enda Lynn were needed to see the home side over the line.

As spaces began to open up, the fresh legs of Lynn revelled and the Greenlough man notched himself three points as Derry kept their 100 per cent record intact.

Derry: E McNicholl; G O'Kane (0-1), D McBride, D Brown; K Johnston, M Craig, J Kearney (0-1f); P McGuigan, P Cassidy; N Holly, N McFeely (0-1), N McNicholl; A O'Neill (0-3), C McGoldrick, A Kerrigan (0-5, 0-1f)

Subs: E Lynn (0-3) for N McNicholl (39), C McFaul (0-2) for McFeely (39), F Doherty for Cassidy (42), M Lynch (0-1) for McGuigan (42), A McAlynn for Brown (47), C Kielt for McBride (66)

St. Mary's: D McAnenly; S Mullan, N Donnelly, M Murray; R Loughran, A Maguire, M Hynes; R O'Callaghan (0-1), P Carragher (0-1); K McKernan, T Canavan (0-6, 0-5f), R Johnston (0-1); J Duffy, R Lynch (0-1), B Hasson (0-2)

Subs: C McMahon for Hynes (20), A Forker for Lynch (39), R Sexton (0-1) for Carragher (39), J Grugan for Duffy (49), C McCann (0-1) for Donnelly (64)

Referee: I Molloy (Donegal)

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