Donegal hurlers beaten by goal-hungry Derry in Belfast
Ardal McDermott’s debut as Donegal Senior Hurling manager got off to a losing start this afternoon, as a goal-hungry Derry registered a 6-21 to 2-19 win at The Dub in Belfast.
Derry 6-21 Donegal 2-19
Pitch conditions were heavy, as both teams put the Christmas festivities behind them to serve up a competitive game of hurling for this time of year.
In a high-scoring encounter, 2015 champions Derry led by 4-9 to 2-11 at half-time, and kept a clean-sheet in the second half, as they powered to a 14-point win.
Towering full-forward Ruairí Convery was Donegal’s tormentor in chief, with the Swatragh clubman helping himself to 2-6, including two first-half goals.
The weather was overcast, with a little drizzle and no wind as the two sets of players worked hard in the opening half.
Both teams were in fine scoring form in the opening 35 minutes, with Donegal particularly impressive from distance, with McDermott’s charges taking some fine scores from almost 60 metres out.
His side opened the scoring, but within minutes Derry bagged the first of their six goals, after a mix up in the Donegal defence.
Derry played up a slight hill in the opening half, but this mattered little as goals from Convery (2), Deaglan Foley and Sean Francis Quinn helped them to a four-point interval lead.
Danny Cullen, Sean McVeigh and Joe Boyle featured strongly for Donegal, as did debutants Paul Nelson, Conor O’Grady and Sam Doherty.
Derry just edged the physicality stakes and were on top at midfield, helping them to pick off a few easy scores.
Donegal gained some control of midfield on the restart, with Cullen impressive, but Derry worked hard.
With substitutes Mickey Conway and Shane Farren adding second half goals, the Oak Leafers held out for a comfortable win.
Donegal manager Ardal McDermott was satisfied with his sides display, coming into this game without any matches behind them, unlike their Derry counterparts.
“We were happy with the game,” he told Donegal Sport Hub.
“We haven’t had any training sessions yet and this was our first bit of hurling, so 2-21 against Derry was a decent score.
“We used it as a chance to try out players and we had three players who made their senior debut today. So for us we were happy with the game.”
With the round-robin format, Donegal are guaranteed at least two more games, and will face Down on Sunday January 10th and St Mary’s University College, Belfast on Saturday January 16th.
All games in the tournament take place in The Dub, home of competition hosts Queens University Belfast.
Derry: Darrel McDermott; Gabriel Farren, Sean McCullagh, Darragh Mc Closkey; Thomas Magee, Oisin Mc Closkey, Niall Farren; Tiarnan Mc Closkey, Deaglan Foley (1-1); Jonathan O’Dwyer (0-5), Paul Cleary (0-1), Ciaran Gale (0-1); Sean Francis Quinn (1-2), Ruairí Convery (2-6), Brendan Laverty (0-3). Rolling Subs: Mickey Conway (1-01) for Deaglan Foley; Breandan Douban for Thomas Magee; Shane Farren (1-1) for Ciaran Gale; Johnny McCullagh for Paul Cleary; Conor Owens for Darrel McDermott.
Donegal: Paul Burns; Marty McGrath, Shane Gallen, Conor O’Grady; Jack O’Loughlin (0-2), Christy McDermott, Niall Cleary; Danny Cullen, Stephen Gillespie; Lee Henderson (0-3), Sean McVeigh (0-5, 1f), Paul Nelson (0-2); Sean Curran, Ronan McDermott (1-3), Sam Doherty (0-2). Rolling Subs: Paddy Hannigan (1-0); Dylan Lafferty; Joe Boyle (0-1), Kevin Campbell (0-1, 1f); Bernard Laverty.
Referee: Owen Elliott (Antrim)Tags: