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Spectre of relegation now haunting Derry

A blistering opening period from Monaghan laid the foundation for a vital and comfortable victory over Derry in St Mary’s Park, Scotstown yesterday.

The outstanding Conor McManus led the way with seven first half points as the Farney men built up a 1-10 to 0-4 advantage in this basement battle.

The opening 14 minutes was evenly matched with the sides exchanging the lead and level on four occasions.

However, Monaghan took control and Derry failed to register again until three minutes into the second period.

McManus edged Monaghan in front before Thomas Freeman found the net after been played through by Dermot Malone in the 16th minute and they never looked back.

Changes by Derry manager Damien Cassidy did see his side show more purpose after the resumption with four of his substitutes all getting their name on the score sheet but it was all in vain as they faced the uphill battle.

The Oak Leaf men outscored the home side eight points to six which included the final four points of the contest.

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At that stage Monaghan were already safely home and dry and Seamus McEnaney’s side are very much back in the hunt for division one survival while Derry’s hopes are hanging by a thread.

After a bright start, the Oak Leafers capitulated and were totally outplayed by the more-focused and hungrier hosts.

McManus may have been in magical form but Derry posed little threat as Monaghan cruised to the winning post.

Monaghan: Duffy, McArdle, Greenan, Mone, Walshe (0-2), Hughes, McAdam, Finlay (0-3, 2f), Clerkin, Malone (0-1), Gollogly, Hughes, McManus (0-8, 5f), McElroy (0-1), Freeman (1-1). Subs: Mone (for McArdle (HT), Woods (for H McElroy 51), McNally (for Walshe 60), Hanratty (for Malone 64), Doogan (for Greenan 65).

Derry: Gillis, B Og McAlary, McGuckin, McBride, Kielt, McGoldrick, O’Kane, Bradley, Doherty, Mullan, Lynch (0-1), McGoldrick, Bradley (0-4, 2f), Bradley (0-2, 1f), McLaughlin. Subs: Wilkinson 0-1 (for B OgMcAlary 19), Kielt 0-1 (for A McLaughlin, HT), Bateson 0-2 (for B Mullan 43), Diver 0-1 (for P Bradley 47), Moore (for McGoldrick 57)

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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