WHEN was the last time a Derry Senior Hurling manager was disappointed with a six point away win against Down?
Michael Wilson reports
The fact that disappointment was Ger Rogan’s initial reaction to Sunday excellent victory in Newry tells you everything about the Oak Leafers display at the foot of the Mournes.
On top from the start and inspired by 12-point Paddy Henry and a second half goal from Na Magha’s Breandan Quigley, Derry were well worth the victory. In fact, the source of said ’disappointment’ for Rogan was his side, didn’t go on to win more emphatically.
“It was a good result from an outside perspective but to be honest we were a little disappointed we didn’t win by 10 or 12 points, the boys played very well,” explained the Derry manager.
“It was particularly nice because Sunday was a pressure game. Whoever lost was going to be in a relegation fight and the players came out and really played. We didn’t set targets at the start of the season but at the minute we are more than happy with the level of performances we are getting. I couldn’t asked for a lot more from these players.
“There is still plenty there to work on but if we didn’t have little things to be working on, then we would be All Ireland Senior champions, wouldn’t we!”
Derry lead by 0-4 to no score early on with Henry banging over the points from all angles to give the visitors an 0-11 to 0-8 advantage at the interval
When substitute Quigley fired home a goal early in the second half, Derry had stretched into a 10-point lead but rather move away, Derry allowed Down to closed the gap though they were never in danger of being caught.
“We have taken three out of four points from two difficult away trips. Against Westmeath we came out very sluggish at the start of the second half but on Sunday the boys came out and hit 1-03 within six minutes of the game restarting.
“That was a great improvement but, as I said, we were slightly disappointed we didn’t go on from there and really hammer home that advantage. We gave away what I thought was a silly goal and that is one of the things we can work on.”
Rogan was fulsome in his praise of the lethal Henry.
“Yes, Paddy has a bit of work to do on his free-taking,” he laughed, “In fairness it was the pressure we were putting Down under that provided the frees for Paddy but it is one thing getting them and another to score them like he does. He was excellent, I don’t think he missed a free all afternoon but it is not accident. He is meticulous in his preparation. After most training sessions, Paddy will stay behind and practise and it shows.
“Breandan Quigley came on and also did very well. Their full-back had done well in the first half and we decided to change things. Breandan came on and the full-back didn’t touch the ball again. Breandan is a quiet lad who has waited patiently for his chance but on Sunday, he got it and took it very well, scoring a goal and a point.”
Derry: Oisin Doherty, Michael Warnock, Conor Quinn, John McCloskey, Aaron McCloskey, Liam Hinphey (0-1) Ruairi McCloskey, Oisin McCloskey (0-3), Paddy Kelly, Paddy Henry (0-12, 11 frees) Patrick McCloskey, Alan Grant, Shane Farren, Ruairi Convery (0-2) Shane Farren(0-2).
Subs: K Hinphey for Warnock, Conor McSorley for John McCloskey, Liam Craig for Kelly, Brendan Quigley (1-1) for Gilmore.