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Oak Leafs hold firm and book return to Croke Park

Derry 0-17 Dublin 0-14

By John Campbell

Damian McErlain's youthful warriors sent out a defiant message that the future of Derry football is far from bleak by the manner in which they eventually disposed of Dublin in yesterday's All-Ireland minor semi-final at Croke Park.

Now it's on to a final confrontation with Kerry, and McErlain has lost no time in making it clear that his side still have a lot of work to do if they are to add the national crown to their Ulster title.

"We had to work hard, and we will have to work even harder if we are to win the final," McErland reflected after the victory.

He added, "I thought, though, that the boys put in a huge effort and deserved this win over Dublin."

Derry looked sharp and lively in the first quarter, during which Patrick Quigg and Ben McCarron carried a big threat up front, and a brace of points from the latter helped hoist the north-west side into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead with just over 10 minutes gone.

David Lacey and James Doran landed points to trim Derry's lead to a single score, but Dublin took a firmer grip on the contest when the same duo joined Ross McGarry in helping their side to nose in front before Quigg brought Derry back on terms.

Oran Hartin made a superb save from McGarry, and then Lacey thundered the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy. Dublin, though, deserved their 0-8 to 0-7 interval lead.

Dublin continued to hold the whip hand after the break - but only for a matter of minutes.

When player of the match Lorcan McWilliams triggered a four-point blitz in the 43rd minute, he was to thrust his side firmly into the driving seat - a role which they retained until the final whistle.

McWilliams landed half a dozen points in all, Ben McCarron chipped in with a brace from frees and substitute Jon Paul Devlin swung over a spectacular effort.

Try as they did, Dublin were unable to get the goal they badly needed as Derry held firm in the closing minutes to ensure their return to headquarters on September 17.

Derry: O Hartin; O McGill, C McCluskey, S McKeever; S McErlain, P McGrogan, C McShane; O McWilliams 0-1, D Rafferty; P Quigg 0-4 (3f), R Mullan 0-1, O Quinn; B McCarron 0-3 (2f), L McWilliams 0-6 (3f), M McGrogan 0-1. Subs: F Mortimer for Rafferty (29 mins), C Brown for Quinn (32), D Cassidy for Quigg (35), M Bradley for McErlain (56), J P Devlin 0-1 for McCarron (58), T McHugh for O McWilliams (64).

Dublin: D O'Hanlon; D Maher, P Ó Cofaigh Byrne, L Flatman; K Kennedy, N Matthews, E O'Dea; D Ryan, M Tracey; D Brennan, J Doran 0-6, K Lynch Bissett; R McGarry 0-2, S Hawkshaw 0-1, D Lacey 0-5 (4f). Subs: F O'Sullivan for Brennan (40), C Archer for Hawkshaw (45), G Nangle for Byrne (51), C Byrne for Lynch Bissett (58), L Doran for Maher (62), N O'Leary for Kennedy BC (65). Referee: Seán Lonergan (Tipperary)

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