DERRY kept their McKenna Cup qualification hopes alive last night in Celtic Park with a routine 11-point victory over a Jordanstown team that started with six natives of the Oak Leaf County.
The home side began with James Kielt in a deeper role leaving Eoin Bradley and Colin Devlin inside but it was the Students who started brightest in an opening period which bore all the hallmarks of an early season fixture. Neither side was able to inject any real fluency into their play with misplaced passes and hurried shooting the order of the day. By the time the half-time whistle sounded, Derry had amassed eight wides, Jordanstown nine as Ciaran McFaul’s excellent goal on the stoke of the interval gave Derry a flattering lead. McFaul, who only came into the starting 15 for the for the injured Declan Mullan, broke through on to an excellent hand pass from Kielt to side step Jordanstown keeper Mark McReynolds and plant his shot into the net to give Brian McIver’s side a 1-6 to 0-3 lead they scarcely deserved.
Gavin O’Neill from Banagher and Colm Duffin had sent two very scorable shots wide for Adrian McGuckin’s team in a tentative opening before Eoin Bradley eventually got the scoreboard ticking over with a third minute free.
Things didn’t improve for the Students who should have found the net on six minutes after a mistake by Derry keeper Thomas Mallon. O’Neill’s lofted effort from the right side should have been dealt with by, under pressure from Emmett McGuckin, Mallon spilled the ball into the path of Ballinderry’s Aaron Devlin who inexplicably struck the post of the unguarded net from eight yards.
McGuckin’s superb point from the right on 12 minutes finally got the Students off and running but Derry responded immediately through a Philip Bradley score for 0-2 to 0-1. Devlin equalised for the visitors but Swatargh’s Conor McAtamney soon had Derry in front again.
From there to the half-time whistle Derry dominated, especially as Jordanstwon continued their wasteful shooting, Within 10 seconds of Rory Moore sending an effort wide of the Derry posts at one end, Eoin Bradley had slotted over at the other for a 0-4 to 0-2 lead. James Kielt extended the lead before Colin Devlin saw his effort superb saved by McReynolds with Kielt sending the follow up over the bar. It was a lead which was consolidated by McFaul’s goal a short time later.
Derry lost Eoin Bradley to injury on the stroke of half-time with Lee Kennedy replacing him but that McFaul goal looked to have knocked the Students out of thier stride as Derry started the second period in dominant fashion.
Devlin pointed with a minute of the restart and even with Lynn and Kennedy sending efforts wide Derry were in cruise control as the Students struggled to get going after the break. The hugely impressive Mc Faul set Carlus McWilliams up for a point on 39 minutes before an excellent solo effort from Devlin on 45 minutes made it 1-09 to 0-04. McFaul underlined his county credentials once again when he gathered the following kick-out and sent it straight back over the bar.
Devlin could have registered Derry’s second goal on 47 minutes when he latched onto Kilet’s pass but flashed his shot across goal and wide of the far post.
With Jordanstown’s challenge visibly wilting in the Celtic Park frost, both teams took the opportunity to empty their respective substitute benches but it made little impact on the game as McIver’s men continued to hold the upper hand. Lynn and Kilet both added scores as the game was reduced to an almost walking pace. Ryna Ferris could have added a second goal late on for Derry but dragged his shot badly wide but the game had long since been won.
Derry: Thomas Mallon; Carlus McWilliams (0-1), Dermot McBride, Brian McCallion; Conor McAtamney (0-1), Mark Lynch, Philip Bradley (0-1); Blain Gormley, PJ McCloskey; Enda Lynn (0-1), Ciaran McFaul (1-1), Daniel Heavron; Colin Devlin (0-2), Eoin Bradley (0-2, 1f), James Kielt (0-5, 2f). (Subs) Lee Kennedy for E Bradley, H/T; Kevin Johnston for C McAtamney, 53mins, Gerard O’Kane for B McCallion, 53mins; John McCamley for B Gormley, 59mins; Ryan Ferris for E Lynn, 63mins.
U.U.J: Mark McReynolds; Kevin Nugent, Rory Moore, Dwayne Quinn; Eoin Wade, Gerard McCartan, Eunan Deeney; Colm Duffin (0-2, 2f), Chris McKaigue; Richard Donnelly (0-1, 1f), Aaron Devlin (0-2, 1f), Gregory McGovern; Gavin O’Neill, Emmett McGuckin (0-1), Declan Lynch. (Subs) Danny Gorman for K Nugent, 26mins; Chris McCarron for R Moore, 42mins; Shane McGerraghty for G McGovern, 42 mins; Ruairi Corrigan for G O’Neill, 50mins;Gearoid Rennicks for C Duffin, 59mins;
Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Donegal)