In preparation for their Ulster Senior football championship semi-final against Armagh at Clones, Derry played a challenge game against Antrim at Newbridge on Tuesday evening of this week.
The Derry starting 15 was; Barry Gillis; Sean Leo McGoldrick, Ciaran Mullan, Brian Og McAlary; Barry McGuigan, Kevin McGuckin, Brian McCallion; Joe Diver, P.J. McCloskey; Barry McGoldrick, Mark Lynch, Michael Bateson; Caolan O’Boyle, Eoin Bradley, James Kielt.
In the first half Michael McCann and Aodhan Gallagher were dominant in the middle of the field for the Saffrons and Derry struggled to get scores on the board. However when O’Boyle and Lynch exchanged positions Derry’s fortunes improved significantly as they scored 2-03 to take a 3-08 to 1-06 lead to half time. Michael Bateson and Eoin Bradley (2) scored the Derry first half goals. Caolan O’Boyle scored a point from a penalty.
Derry made wholesale changes for the start of the second half, and during the half, Antrim playing substantially the same 15 from start to finish. Niall Holly and Michael Friel were the midfield partners in the second half, Mickey Conlan the keeper, Coleraine’s Ciaran McGoldrick and Brian Og McAlary showing up well in the second period.
Danny Mulholland scored a late goal for Derry but Antrim ran out 4-14 to 4-12 winners in a useful run out where all the fit and available players were given game time.
Gerard O’Kane was one of a number of Derry players who did not play but he will be available for the Armagh lead. He has a ‘dead leg’, sustained in a collision with Kilrea’s James Kielt, but intensive treatment, including the ‘ice bath’ hydrotherapy treatment, should have the Glenullin player fully fit for the Armagh challenge.