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Oakleafers prove too strong for Armagh in Croke clash


By James McDonagh

Goals from Alan Grant, Gerald Bradley and Brian Cassidy spearheaded Derry's Nicky Rackard win on Saturday at Croke Park. It was yet another disappointment for Armagh, who lost their third successive final, but it was Collie McGurk's Oakleafers who had the more potent threat.

After seven minutes Alan Grant shot to the back of the net for the game's first score. With Eoin McGuinness pulling the strings the Orchard County were soon back in the hunt. Nathan Curry, McGuinness (2) and David Carvill shot Sylvester McConnell's side into a 0-4 to 1-0 lead on 15 minutes.

Derry began to play. Chrissy McKaigue was orchestrating from midfield and Liam Óg Hinphey was a pillar of strength in defence. Gerald Bradley landed three points from play and with half-time approaching Brian Cassidy added two scores for a 1-9 to 0-6 interval lead.

With the second-half minutes old the Armagh net was bulging again.This time it was Gerald Bradley after the Slaughtneil attacker latched on to Naoise Waldron's pass. Alan Grant and David Carvill then exchanged frees.

The pre-match talk was about Collie McGurk's ability to get all the county's top guns out playing. And The Lavey man had Ruairi Convery on the bench - it spoke volumes about competition for places. The iconic Swatragh man fired over a free on his introduction, the first of four points as Derry heaped the misery on Armagh.

Eoin McGuinness, Cahal and David Carvill still caused Derry problems but it was a long ball to Ryan Gaffney that led to an Armagh goal after 55 minutes.

Armagh needed to build on it but Chrissy McKaigue scored 0-3 and Cormac O'Doherty won a breaking ball at midfield before adding to the Derry tally.

Gaffney scored a second Armagh goal after an error by Darryl McDermott. Cahal Carvill added a point but it wasn't enough.

The final nail was Brian Cassidy's goal after unselfish work by Brendan Rogers as Derry sailed over the horizon to victory.

Derry: McDermott; Turner, Cassidy, McCloskey; Cleary, O McCloskey, Hinphey; McKaigue (0-3), McAllister, Bradley (1-3), McGrath, Waldron, Grant (1-5, 4f), Cassidy (1-4), B Rogers (0-3).

Subs: Hinphey for McAllister (23), Naoise Waldron for Turner (HT), McCullagh for P Cleary (blood 34, rev 49), O'Doherty (0-1) for Waldron (46), Convery (0-4, 2f, 1 '45'), for Grant (46), McGilligan for Cleary (57).

Yellow Cards: Cassidy (8), Turner (15), K Hinphey (31).

Armagh: Doherty; Clifford, McGuinness, T Nevin; Corvan, Gaffney, Devlin; Curry (0-1), O Curry; Carvill (0-7, 6f), McGuinness (0-2), C Corvan (0-1); McKenna, Gaffney (2-0), Carvill (0-3).

Subs: Bradley for McKenna (32), Magee for McGuinness (HT), Gaffney (0-1) for McGuinness, (60), Bridges for Devin (62), Gorman for Corvan (71).

Yellow Cards: Curry (2), D McKenna (3), Devlin (42), Clifford (72).




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