Ulster SFC: Down Beat Resilient Derry

Down 2-17 Derry 1-15

Down overcame a stern battle against a resilient Derry side to book their place in the semi finals of the Ulster championship.

Down started with three early points in this game. Both teams began defending well, trying to score utilise counter attacks where possible. The game quickly developed into a fast and physical encounter between the two teams with Down dominating posession in the middle of the field. Down & Derry both exchanged points, with Down edging ahead despite pressure from the Foylesiders. Down restored their lead with points by Donal  O’Hare & McKiernan before Derry’s  Eoin Bradley evaded two markers to add a great point. Derry then went in front with two frees before Niall Madine broke their momentum and restored parity. Bradley played an integral role,  receiving possession and evading two defenders to set up Mark Lynch who put the ball into the Down net. Derry pushed on and Bradley nearly scored a second but the had to be content with taking a half time lead of 1-10 to 0-9.

Derry started the second half well with a point by Heron to increase their lead to five points.  Down cut the gap by two points before a blistering run from Conor Laverty set up Donal O’Hare who scored Down’s first goal of the game & brought the sides level once again. Down began to dominate the game now and stood up to Derry, who were piling on the pressure. Kielt put Derry back in front before Down struck for their second goal. A neat spell of passing and solid off the ball movement afforded Mark Poland a chance at goal and he didn’t disappoint. Down quickly assumed control of the game and could have had a third goal only for Ryan Mellon’s effort to hit the post. Mark Lynch added Derry’s remaining score of the game. Down closed the game out with some points at the end to leave the score Down 2-17 Derry 1-15.

Down got a great test from this game while Derry had plenty of positives despite the result. Down showed real desire to win this game but we havn’t seen the last of this Derry side, who will certainly be worth watching in the qualifiers.

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