Derry march on as Mayo's hopes go west

MAYO will want to forget their first ever championship meeting with Derry as the Oak Leaf side cruised to a 10 point win in this second round qualifier at Celtic Park last Saturday afternoon.

Derry were good value for their 2-13 to 1-6 win over a very disappointing Mayo side that just last year were in the All-Ireland final.

Under the returning John O’Mahoney, Mayo were expected to put in another big challenge for provincial and indeed All-Ireland honours but defeat to Galway in Connacht and now Derry in the qualifiers has put paid to their season in its entirety.

Meanwhile Derry now advance to the last 12 where they will meet defeated Leinster finalists Laois for a place in the quarter-finals.

Following their shock win over Armagh the question being asked of Derry was, could they put back-to-back performances together?

Well the Oak Leaf men answered that question emphatically at Celtic Park, albeit over a very disappointing Mayo side. However it would be churlish not to give most of the credit to Derry as they set about their task right from the first whistle and kept going until the final blow.

Indeed Derry blasted out of the blocks in some style going four points clear after just 13 minutes, Conleth Gilligan, Barry McGoldrick, James Conway all from play, and Paddy Bradley from a free giving the home fans something to cheer about.

However just two minutes after Bradley’s point Derry goalkeeper Barry Gillis failed to deal with a long punt into his area, the ball bouncing off his chest into the path of Barry Moran who side-footed into an empty net.

Moments later Mayo were level when Conor Mortimer pointed a close-in free. After being under the cosh during that entire opening period Mayo had drawn level in two attacks.

Derry then regained the initiative with points from Gilligan and Colin Devlin but big Barry Moran at full forward was still causing problems in the centre of the Derry defence.

Indeed Moran should have goaled in the 24th minute when he won another route one high ball, he turned but blazed over the bar from 12 yards.

The sides then traded points Enda Muldoon for Derry and Moran again following a misplaced Francis McEldowney pass. Just before the break Mark Lynch, who had replaced Barry McGoldrick, was fouled, Gilligan pointed the free sending Derry in two clear, 0-8 to 1-3 at the break.

Mayo made the better start to the second half and just four minutes in they were level with points from substitute Aidan Kilcoyne and pierce Hanley. Just before Hanley’s equaliser Mark Lynch missed a glorious goal chance when put through by Paddy Bradley, his shot screwed across the face of the goal and wide.

Following their equaliser Mayo had a period of pressure but their old failings resurfaced, good approach work was spoiled by inept finishing, four wides in a five minute period would be severely punished.

Again it was a ‘route one’ ball that would do the damage, James Conway getting in to fist for a point but the ball went short and probably the smallest man on the pitch, Colin Devlin beat goalkeeper David Clark to palm to the net.

It was a crucial breakthrough for Derry even though Mayo came back with an Andy Moran point midway through the half.

With Enda Muldoon now operating around the middle his perceptive passing and movement brought a different dimension to Derry’s game.

His long ball to Paddy Bradley set up the full forward for a neat point and ten minutes from time he was involved again along with the industrious Fergal Doherty for Raymond Wilkinson to extend Derry’s lead to four.

Derry were very much on top at this stage and they rammed home their superiority with three points in as many minutes, all scored by Paddy Bradley.

Then came the coup-de-grace, a series of passes on the left side involving six or seven players opened up space for Muldoon to lob the Mayo goalkeeper, the ball nestling in the empty net.

Next up for Derry will be Laois, a side that has caused real problems for the Oak Leaf men in recent years, however Derry’s wins over Armagh and Mayo will have given them a real sense of belief and they can look forward to the challenge with renewed confidence.

DERRY: B Gillis; M McGoldrick, K McCloy, G O'Kane; L Hinphey, SM Lockhart, F McEldowney; F Doherty, J Conway (0-01); B McGoldrick (0-01), P Murphy, E Muldoon (1-01); C Devlin (1-01), Paddy Bradley (0-05, 0-02f), C Gilligan (0-03, 0-02f).

Subs used: M Lynch for B McGoldrick (29 mins), R Wilkinson (0-01) for P Murphy (56), Patsy Bradley for J Conway (60), P O'Hea for L Hinphey (67), G Donaghy for Cilligan (70).