convincing | 

Derry stun Monaghan to book place in Ulster final for first time since 2011

Derry 3-12 Monaghan 0-17
Conor Doherty of Derry, celebrates his side's third goal, scored by Benny Heron

Conor Doherty of Derry, celebrates his side's third goal, scored by Benny Heron

Conor McKeon

DERRY have qualified for their first Ulster final since 2011 after causing a second seismic upset.

Just two weeks on from destroying Tyrone in Omagh, Rory Gallagher’s team beat Monaghan today at Armagh’s Athletic Grounds, leaving them a game away from a first Ulster title since 1998.

For context: Derry hadn’t won a single match in Ulster in six years prior to the Tyrone win.

Four points was their margin today and saved for the early stages of the second half and right at the end, they were again clearly superior to their more-experienced, Division 1 opposition.

As with Tyrone, they frustrated Monaghan beyond the point of distraction with a highly-organised, deep-sitting defence and hurt them early with a blistering running game built on the explosive legs of Gallagher’s young side.

Gareth McKinless struck for a goal after 12 minutes at which point Monaghan had repeatedly struggled to breach their defence and Derry led by 1-2 to no score.

After 25 minutes, Benny Heron scored the first of his goals – Derry’s second – after a long ball from goalkeeper Odhran Lynch launched a ball towards Niall Toner, who caught it in behind Conor Boyle and squared for Heron.

That made it 2-3 to 0-2 on a day and given the difficult Monaghan were having getting shots away, it cast them on the back foot.

Shane McGuigan gave the Derry attack a focal point while Conor Glass was again exceptional in midfield and though Monaghan started the second half by scoring four of the first five points, three was as close as they got.

Heron’s second goal in the 60th minute released the pressure valve and guaranteed Derry’s place in this year’s Ulster final

SCORERS

Derry: S McGuigan 0-7 (4f, 1m), B Heron 2-0, G McKinless 1-0, Paul Cassidy 0-2, N Toner, N Loughlin, E Bradley 0-1 each.

Monaghan: C McManus 0-7 (5f), J McCarron 0-4 (3f, 1m), R McAnespie, D Ward, C McCarthy, D Hughes, N Kearns, A Woods 0-1 each.

TEAMS

DERRY: O Lynch; P McGrogan, B Rogers, C McKaigue; C McCluskey, S Downey, C Doherty; C Glass, G McKinless; P Cassidy, N Toner, E Doherty; B Heron, S McGuigan, N Loughlin. Subs: E Bradley for Loughlin (42), Padraig Cassidy for Doherty (62), B McCarron for Toner (67), P McNeil for Downey (72), L Murray for Paul Cassidy (75)

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; K Dufy, C Boyle, R Wylie; R McAnespie, D Ward, C McCarthy; D Hughes, N Kearns; S Carey, K Hughe, M Bannigan; J McCarron, G Mohan, C McManus. Subs: A Woods for Carey (33), K O’Connell for Bannigan (33), D Garland for Hughes (56), S Jones for Mohan (62), C Leonard for Boyle (63)

REF: D Gough (Meath)


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