All-Ireland Minor Football Championship semi-final
By Michael McMullan
DERRY minors’ season of promised came to a disappointing end despite a gallant comeback against Galway at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.
Galway led by seven points with ten minutes remaining and later lost Johnny McGuckian to a second booking.
Derry, with goalkeeper Ben O’Connor playing as an extra man on the overlap, went for broke and hit six unanswered points to leave just a point between the sides.
It was Marty Boyle’s side who had all the momentum, but time wasn’t on their side. With the four minutes of stoppage time Antain Donnelly had the bravery to pull the trigger on a chance to take the game to extra-time, but his shot drifted to the left and wide with Derry’s last throw of the dice.
Galway got off to the best possible start with a Jack Lonergan goal in the fifth minute after a bursting run forward from corner back Tomás Farthing.
Derry were slow to settle and found a very aggressive Galway team hard to break down and difficult to fend off the 50-50 ball.
Colm Costello added two points and Galway were 1-3 to 0-1 ahead. Lonergan was influential and it was his midfield partner McGlinchey stretched his side’s lead.
Derry did give themselves a lifeline when Eoin Higgins hammered to the top corner of the Galway net after Odhran Crozier picked a pass though the eye of a needle to open up their defence.
When midfielder Shay McGlinchey was black-carded before half-time, Derry’s 1-4 to 1-1 deficit looked achievable.
But after winning the throw-in, it was Galway who played with the intensity through the middle third and soon had the ball in the back of the net.
A Cillian Trayers pass picked out Colm Costello who cut inside and fired to the bottom corner of the net for a 2-4 to 1-1 lead after 32 minutes.
It rocked Derry and when Monaghan took his tally to four points, it looked comfortable for a Galway side who had an exceptional defensive unit.
Johnny McGuckian, Conor Downey and Ciaran Chambers (2) had Derry on the front foot with a rampant late charge but Galway held on for victory.
Derry: B O’Connor; E Scullion, J Murray. F McEldowney; O Crozier, D McDermott, S Birt; R Forbes (0-1), S McGlinchey; J McGuckian (0-1), O Murphy, C Spiers (0-1); C Higgins; E Higgins (1-1), C Chambers (0-6, 4f)
Subs: C Downey (0-1) for C Higgins (39), A Donnelly for E Scullion (41), D McGurk for S Birt (51), C Coyle for O Murphy (53)
Galway: K Gilmore; T Farthing, R Flaherty, V Gill; M Mannion, C Trayers, R Coen; J Lonergan (1-0), S McGlinchey (0-1); S Dunne, É Monaghan (0-4), O Morgan; F O’Connor, S Curley, C Costello (1-4, 2f)
Subs: A Colleran for R Flaherty (60), P McNella for R Coen (62), J Summerville for F O’Connor (57), C Cox for S Curley (59), O Kelly for S Dunne (48)
Referee: S Laverty (Antrim)