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National Football League: Brennan fires blast as mistakes cost Derry

Derry 2-12 Donegal 2-18: Derry manager John Brennan stated that “poor communication” and “elementary mistakes” were to blame for a six point defeat to neighbours Donegal under the lights at Celtic Park on Saturday.

Derry started the game at a ferocious pace and within four minutes Caolan O’Boyle had amassed 1-1 to give Derry a four point lead.

The Oak Leafers looked convincing during the opening 20 minutes, but Donegal settled into the game and full-forward Michael Murphy proved a formidable prospect for the Derry full-back line.

He notched up a tally of 1-7 and his second-half goal was perhaps one of the best scored at Celtic Park in recent times.

It was the first time that Donegal had played at the newly refurbished home of Derry GAA and victory over the Oak Leafers means that they are now top of Division Two of the NFL.

Speaking after the game, Brennan said that his side were rightly punished for their mistakes, but refused to dwell on the negative result.

“We started off in a whirlwind fashion as we had planned to do. We went 1-1 up early on, but there seems to be an inbuilt disease in us – when we have our opposition on the back foot we seem to back off and let them get organised,” said Brennan.

“Donegal regrouped and there was a seven or eight minute period where we just didn’t play football.

“The result is not the end of the world. Donegal are a good team and they capitalised on our mistakes. We have Meath and Antrim coming up so hopefully we can get four points out of that but if we continue to make elementary mistakes then we’ll continue to be punished.”

Brennan insisted that Michael Murphy’s goal in the second half virtually finished Derry off and claimed that the defending which led to the Donegal-man taking his goal left a lot to be desired.

Derry’s attempts to get back into the game were made almost impossible when full-back Kevin McCloy was sent-off after receiving a second yellow card.

“We conceded a goal, it was poor defending and a bad one to concede at inter-county level. If you play like that you are going to be punished,” said Brennan.

“We improved in the second-half, but elementary mistakes let us down. We lost a ball in the left-half-forward position, Donegal worked down their right wing and scored a goal — if their full-forward wins a ball between your two defenders and puts it in the net you know there’s a problem.

“We’ll have to look very seriously at what happened because there was poor communication. It shouldn’t have happened and it pretty much finished us off when Kevin McCloy was sent-off. ”

DERRY: Devlin, Mullan, McCloy, McBride, O’Kane (0-2), J O’Kane, McAlynn, McCloskey, Friel, McGoldrick (0-1), McGoldrick, Donaghy, Muldoon (0-1), O’Boyle (2-1), Gilligan (0-6, 6f). Subs: Kielt (0-1) for McAlynn (28); McGoldrick for Mullan (ht); Lynch for C McGoldrick (43); Bradley for McCloskey (48); Kielt for Donaghy (62).

DONEGAL: Durkan, McGrath, McGee, Lacey (0-1), Thompson, McGlynn, Cassidy, Kavanagh (0-1), McElhinney (0-1), Hegarty, McHigh, Molloy (0-5, 5f), Bradley, Murphy (1-7, 5f), McFadden (1-3). Subs: Noctur for McGee (39); Walsh for McElhinney (56).

Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).

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