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Galway1-11 Derry0-8: McIver berates ref after quitting Derry

By Steven Doherty

With the words "I'm standing down, of course, I couldn't live with that any longer", Brian McIver ended his three-year tenure as Derry manager.

McIver was livid when he spoke shortly after witnessing his side's defeat to Galway on Saturday evening, a loss that he blamed on referee Conor Lane.

"I have given my life in terms of GAA," continued the Ballinderry man.

"I had to go in to a bunch of players and thank them for all their work from the management.

"I just can't handle refereeing decisions like that any longer. I have to step down.

"Everything in the GAA has moved on in the last 20 years except the standard of refereeing.

"Maybe I saw that in a totally biased way but it was one of the worst refereeing performances I have ever seen in my life."

A series of what McIver regarded as 'easy' frees which altered the direction of the first half, a harsh early black card for Brendan Rogers and the failure to award a Derry penalty combined to escalate his ire and ultimately cause his resignation.

The first three minutes of the match itself were classic Derry and promised much. There was plenty of lateral movement which has become the hallmark of much of their play in recent years, but with Galway stationing every player behind the ball and the playing conditions treacherous, possession and patience were key.

Sean Leo McGoldrick and Enda Lynn were conducting matters from half-back to half-forward and Niall Holly was a willing and direct ball carrier.

And while it's all well and good starving Galway of the ball as the Oak Leaf side did, it's imperative to find the end product, which Derry did produce when Eoin Bradley pointed from a difficult angle to open the scoring just after the three-minute mark.

Benny Heron and Danny Heavron, with the first of his three points from play, saw the visitors race to an early three-point lead.

Kevin Walsh's men responded and star man Gary Sice Lane converted the first of seven consecutive frees for Galway, all of which would dramatically alter the narrative of the first half.

Events took a further turn for the worse for the visitors when Rogers was black carded for an innocuous-looking foul on Johnny Duane.

Feeling aggrieved at ending up on the wrong side of so many decisions and despite playing into that unrelenting head wind, Derry continued to rally.

Heavron scored a belter in the 31st minute and Heron's long-range curling free in the 35th minute left it just a two-point game.

However, Gareth Bradshaw's point just a minute later was Galway's first and only point from play in the first half, and it gave his side a 0-8 to 0-5 half-time advantage.

Three points down at the restart, there would have been reason for optimism after the break even if that was slightly dampened by the non-appearance of Oak Leaf captain Mark Lynch after the interval. Again Fergal Doherty and Holly conspired to win the throw-in and again Derry attacked.

Heavron knocked over his third point of the game before a superb Cailean O'Boyle point reduced Derry's deficit to one in the 42nd minute.

However, the Oak Leafers failed to build on that early second-half momentum.

Two further Sice frees and a point from Galway's roving No 6 Gary O'Donnell gave the Tribesmen a 0-11 to 0-7 lead on the hour mark.

Lacking any real cutting edge up front, Derry desperately needed a goal to reignite their hopes of staging a revival.

They only threatened to get that goal once however, when O'Boyle looked to have been impeded in the box in the 61st minute but referee Lane was having none of Derry's penalty appeals, much to the visible frustration of McIver.

Galway countered decisively and when Danny Cummins finally lost marker Oisin Duffy and rifled the ball in off the crossbar, it was game, set and match to the Tribesmen.

Scorers: Galway: G Sice 0-7 (7f), D Cummins 1-0, P Conroy 0-2 (2f) G Bradshaw 0-1, G O'Donnell 0-1.

Derry: D Heavron 0-3, B Heron 0-2 (2f), E Bradley, C O'Boyle 0-1, N Forrester 0-1.

Belfast Telegraph


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