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McKenna Cup semi-finals should be put back to next weekend, argues Rory Gallagher

Fermanagh 1-10 Derry 0-17


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Fixture pain: Rory Gallagher is unhappy with semi-final scheduling. Credit: INPHO/James Crombie

Fixture pain: Rory Gallagher is unhappy with semi-final scheduling. Credit: INPHO/James Crombie

©INPHO/James Crombie

Fixture pain: Rory Gallagher is unhappy with semi-final scheduling. Credit: INPHO/James Crombie

Derry manager Rory Gallagher has questioned the decision to play the Dr McKenna Cup semi-finals on Tuesday night.

The Oak Leaf men secured their place in the last four of the competition - where they will play Donegal in Ballybofey - with a four-point win over Fermanagh in Roslea on Saturday, but Gallagher feels that a game on Tuesday night is a big ask for some players who played mid-week for their college and then again on Saturday.

“Another game is important, but it is tough to play on Tuesday again,” said Gallagher.

“Some of these boys had college games during the week; with the surface here we had players cramping and stuff like that. It is not ideal to play on Tuesday night, if there was any sense it should be switched to the weekend and park the final to later on, but we’ll see what happens.”

Derry always looked as if they would keep Fermanagh at arm’s length during Saturday’s contest with Gallagher’s charges leading by four at the break with teenage forward Matthew Downey to the fore. Downey hit seven points in all in a performance that pleased his manager.

“I’m very happy with Matthew Downey, we gave him the frees today and he kicked them brilliantly. He is only 18 and Lachlan Murray is only 18 but we clearly believe that they are very good footballers,” he added.

Four points remained the difference between the sides going into the final quarter before Sean Quigley cut the gap to one with a goal for the Ernemen, but Derry finished the game out well as they hit four of the last five points.

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For Fermanagh it was a second defeat, following on from their loss to Monaghan a week ago. But manager Kieran Donnelly felt there was an improvement from his side.

“I thought, at times, we controlled the ball well and we were more intricate going forward as well. There was a lot more pleasing aspects, I thought we were a lot more cohesive in our play,” he said.

Fermanagh scorers: S Quigley 1-5 (4f, 1m), A Breen 0-2, B Horan 0-1, D McGurn 0-1 (m), T Bogue 0-1.

Derry scorers: M Downey 0-7 (5f), E Bradley 0-3 (2f), C Doherty 0-2, E Downey 0-2 (1f), P Cassidy 0-1, B Heron 0-1, L Murray 0-1.


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