Updated: February 19th, 2024

Allianz FL: Derry secure third victory with win over Farney

Derry cruised to a third successive Division One victory as goals from Conor McCluskey, Padraig McGrogan and Conor Doherty ensured the Oak Leafers prevailed against Monaghan on Saturday night.

Game Recap

By Michael Wilson (from GAA.ie)

Derry 3-17 Monaghan 0-13

Mickey Harte’s team were in charge throughout with McCluskey’s excellent first half effort easing them to a 1-9 to 0-6 interval lead which Monaghan rarely looked like threatening.

While the goals caught the eye, Shane McGuigan’s contribution of 0-11 merely underlined the quality of a forward currently playing at the top of his game. And he wasn’t alone with Ethan Doherty, Diarmuid Baker and Ciaran McFaul all excellent.

Derry made three changes from the side that started the victory over Tyrone two weeks previous, hamstring victims Odhran Lynch and Grateh McKinless replaced by Ryan Scullion and fit again Eoin McEvoy while Cormac Murphy’s broken finger meant a first league start of the season for Lachlan Murray.

And just like they had against the Red Hands, the Ulster champions played with the wind in the first half. However, unlike against the Red Hands, Derry took full advantage of the elements.

A cagey enough opening period saw the sides swap two scores apiece with Monaghan keeper Darren McDonnell and Michael Hamill cancelling out two McGuigan frees.

Indeed, those opening exchanges were Monaghan versus McGuigan and the Farney were losing as last season’s championship top scorer hit Derry’s opening five points to hand the home side a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the 13th minute.

Four minutes later Derry had doubled that three point lead as Ciaran McFaul pointed twice in quick succession before McGuigan grabbed his sixth of a superb half with his best of the day.

Joel Wilson’s point was Monaghan’s first for 15 minutes, but it settled the visitors, temporarily at least, and when a Jack McCarron free brought it back to 0-8 to 0-4 with 20 minutes played, Vincent Corey will have been relatively happy given they had the wind to come in the second period.

That satisfactory scenario disappeared within a minute however as McCluskey netted and Paul Cassidy tagged on a point. The goal was the match defining score and owed a huge debt to Ethan Doherty’s selfless running.The 2023 ‘Young Player of the Year’ made a superb run to pick up Ryan Scullion’s kick-out and set the move in motion before popping up at the other end to tee up McCluskey whose brilliant low finish was worthy of the move.

To their credit, Monaghan grabbed the final two scores of the half through two McCarron frees but at 1-9 to 0-6, the Farney had plenty to do after the break.

Monaghan needed lifting and as he has so often, McCarron was the man, grabbing three scores, two of then highest order, to bring his team back into the game at 1-11 to 0-9 just 10 minutes into the second half.

It looked game on but Monaghan’s hope lasted only minutes as Derry went through the gears and found a sublime second goal. Again it started at the back, Diarmuid Baker’s brilliant interception setting the Oak Leafers away. Padraig McGrogan drove forward, swapped passes with ‘assist king’ Ethan Doherty and then produced a sublime 20 yard finish into the far corner. It was a superb finish and it finished Monaghan.

Conor Doherty added a third Derry major with a lovely strike from an Eunan Mulholland pass who was making his National League debut as a substitute, the eighth player handed his senior debut by Mickey Harte since taking over.

It was cruise control from there for a Derry side who never looked in danger of missing out on a third successive league victory, a win which maintains their 100 per cent start to life under Mickey Harte.

Scorers for Derry: Conor McCluskey 1-0, Padraig McGrogan 1-0, Conor Doherty 1-0, Shane McGuigan 0-11 (6fs), Ciaran McFaul 0-2, Niall Toner 0-2 (1f), Paul Cassidy 0-1, Ethan Doherty 0-1.

Scorers for Monaghan: Jack McCarron 0-8 (4fs, 1m), Darren McDonnell 0-1 (f), Michael Hamill 0-1, Joel Wilson 0-1, Andrew Woods 0-1, Dessie Ward 0-1.

Derry: Ryan Scullion, Conor McCluskey, Christopher McKaigue, Diarmuid Baker, Conor Doherty, Eoin McEvoy, Padraig McGrogan, Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers, Ethan Doherty, Ciaran McFaul, Paul Cassidy, Niall Loughlin, Shane McGuigan, Lachlan Murray.

Subs: Niall Toner for L Murray, HT; Emmett Bradley for N Loughlin, 42mins; Donncha Gilmore for P Cassidy, 52mins; Eunan Mulholland for C McFaul, 59mins; Martin Bradley for D Baker, 64mins.

Monaghan: Darren McDonnell; Ryan Wylie, Colm Lennon, Ryan O’Toole; Ryan McAnespie, Kieran Duffy, Thomas McPhillips; Joel Wilson, Gary Mohan; Stephen O’Hanlon, Ciaran McNulty, Michael Hamill; Michael McCarville, Jack McCarron, Jason Irwin.

Subs: Kevin Loughran for R McAnespie, 33mins; Andrew Woods for S O’Hanlon (inj), HT; Stephen Mooney for J Irwin, 42mins; Dessie Ward for C Lennon, 54mins; Barry McBennett for G Mohan , 64mins. 

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).

Post-match Reaction