By Michael McMullan
DERRY manager Rory Gallagher conceded that his side were beaten by a better team, but rues not making use of the spell of dominance that saw them go three points clear after 12 minutes.
Points from Brendan Rogers (2) and Niall Loughlin had the Ulster champions in control, but Galway were level by half-time at 0-4 all after Shane Walsh had his perfectly legitimate ’45’ reinstated after a Hawkeye malfunction had originally taken it off.
“We were and disappointed to be level at half-time albeit Galway had turned the direction of the game very much and were starting to get the measure of us,” Gallagher summed up after the game.
“We left chances behind us under not that much pressure but also with the amount of ball we had in the first half that we didn’t put up more of a score.”
Derry shot their way to a first Ulster title in 24 years and the last four of the All-Ireland series with a eye for goal that allowed them to play games on their own terms.
Gallagher “pre-empted” that Galway would setup to close down those gaps and after their initial spell the scores began to dry up with four first-half wides and a Shane McGuigan free all they had to show for their efforts.
“We just didn’t really rip into them the way we wanted to,” he said. “The first three points were obviously good but we should have ripped into them far more and that’s disappointing because I felt it took them awhile to get to grips with us defensively even though they were getting bodies behind the ball.
“I thought a lot of our players had opportunities to go at them harder.”
Galway hit the first three scores of the second half to go 0-7 to 0-4 ahead before Damien Comer’s goal shot them into a commanding lead they never looked like losing.
“You have to give phenomenal credit to Shane Walsh. He was quiet (by Conor McCluskey) by his standards, he’s a phenomenally talented player,” said Gallagher, pointing to the Galway man’s four points from four free kicks.
“You got to give Damien Comer unbelievable credit as well, Brendan Rogers threw the gauntlet down to him early on but in an intense game like that the two of theirs contribution was unbelievable.”