Derry’s minor footballers secured a hard-fought two-point win against Armagh at Owenbeg in Sunday’s Ulster MFC quarter-final.
Coming just a few day’s before Christmas and less than 24 hours after the All Ireland SFC Final, this fixture was long in the making.
But it seemed to make little difference to captain Matthew Downey, who produced an inspirational display for the winners. He kicked five points in what was a ferocious battle at Owenbeg.
The Oak Leafers gained revenge for a two-point defeat to the same opposition in last year’s championship.
Armagh kicked three of the first four scores before the sides exchanged efforts before the water break. A Derry point by Lachlan Murray meant they trailed by 0-4 to 0-3 at half time.
Two Downey frees levelled the contest before Dan Higgins found the net. Armagh kicked two points in a row to level the game, but Downey converted two frees to help Derry home.
Teams and scorers
Derry: Kian McGonigle, Aidan McGonigle, Sean Deehan, Connor Shiels, Mark Doherty, Eoin McEvoy, Lee Brady, Dan Higgins, Patrick O’Kane, Raymond Dillon, Matthew Downey, Jody McDermott, Charlie Diamond, Lachlan Murray, Peter McCullagh. (Subs) Calum Downey for P McCullagh, HT; Patrick McGurk for A McGonigle, 61mins
Derry scorers: Matthew Downey (0-5, 4f), Dan Higgins (1-1), Lachlan Murray (0-1)
Armagh: Cathal Doherty, David Mallie, Gareth Murphy, Emmket Magee, Adam Garvey, Niall Dummigan, Fergal O’Brien, Michael Burnett, Oran McCafferty, Antoin McParland. Ronan Fitzpatrick, Sean Conlan, Darragh McMullen, Ciran Donnelly, Caolan Finnegan. (Subs) Zion McKernan for E Magee, 29mins; Matthew Lennon for C Donnelly, HT; Michael McConville for M Burnett, 41mins; Fergal Kieran for O McCafferty, 60mins
Armagh scorers: Ronan Fitzpatrick (0-5, 2f), Adam Garvey (0-1), Matthew Lennon (0-1), Darragh McMullen (0-1)
Derry manager Marty Boyle spoke to DerryGAA.ie after the game…