Derry Minor manager Boyle delighted as 'devastated' Murray cleared for All Ireland semi-final showdown with Meath

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Electric Ireland All Ireland Minor Football Championship Semi-final: Derry v Meath (Saturday, Pairc Esler, 3pm)

Derry manager Martin Boyle is delighted Lachlan Murray will be allowed to take his place against Meath in the All Ireland Minor football semi-final this Saturday after revealing his Ulster final dismissal had devastated the young Desertmartin player.

Not even his Ulster medal nor the knowledge he had contributed hugely to Derry’s dramatic 1-15 to 0-15 victory over Monaghan could console the full forward who was controversially sent off in the 43rd minute for an innocuous tangle of legs with Farney full-back Louis Kelly. It was a decision which almost cost Derry the game and soured the teenager’s night which to that point had brought him 0-4 in a brilliant individual display.

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Derry promptly appealed and video evidence exonerated Murray on Tuesday night, clearing the way for him to play in Paric Esler this weekend with Boyle feeling justice was done, albeit belatedly.

Derry's Lachlan Murray takes on Monaghan's Louis Kelly of Monaghan during the Friday's Ulster Minor Football Championship Final in Healy Park.Derry's Lachlan Murray takes on Monaghan's Louis Kelly of Monaghan during the Friday's Ulster Minor Football Championship Final in Healy Park.
Derry's Lachlan Murray takes on Monaghan's Louis Kelly of Monaghan during the Friday's Ulster Minor Football Championship Final in Healy Park.

“I was delighted. I didn’t think it was a red card or anything like the first cousin of a red card but it is great for Lachlan because he was absolutely devastated on Friday,” revealed Boyle, “He was inconsolable after the game no matter what we told him. But I spoke to him last night and he’s completely over the moon now, it’s such a relief for him.”

And Boyle is hoping Murray’s reprieve could spell bad new for the Royal County this weekend as Derry go in search of a place in the All Ireland decider.

“That performance has been in Lachlan for a while now,” explained Boyle, “We have serious belief in him and he has serious ability, Lachlan just needs to believe how good he is himself.

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On Friday he showed everyone just how good he is and that’s the standard he needs to meet every time but we have full confidence in him. As I said, it’s a performance we have been waiting on because we knew it was in him.

“He is excellent and I’m delighted for him that he gets the chance this weekend because he is such a quiet lad and it was great to see him do it on the big occasion. That was the most pleasing thing.”

It wasn’t all good news for Derry though as both Calum Downey and Murray are nursing ankle injuries while Jody McDermott’s knee injury, which saw him play through the pain barrier against Monaghan, has flared up again and leaves him doubtful.

“Everyone is a bit sore and tired and there are a few niggles,” said Boyle, “We’ll monitor Calum and Lachlan to see how they heal. Jody has a knee injury that he sustained against Tyrone. It flared up again at weekend and while he got through the final, he was in a lot of pain. Again, we‘ll have to see how he is over the next few days.”

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After almost 18 months waiting to get their Ulster Championship played, Derry have had precious little time to celebrate the victory and the challenge only gets steeper against a highly rated Meath side. Derry will go in as underdogs, but Boyle has no doubts over the character or quality of his players

“Among the boys on Monday evening there was a sense of ‘Right, that’s achieved, let’s move on to the next one.’ They really want to attack this one, after all, it’s not every day you get to play in an All Ireland semi-final so they want to do themselves justice.

“Meath have been touted this long time as a great team and we have watched a few videos etc. Sometimes videos can be misleading but they do look a really impressive team. They are very big, very physical, hard working, well organised and have a lot of good players. They will be formidable opponents.

“That said, we fully intend to go out and give it everything we have and if that is enough, then brilliant. In many ways it is good to be straight back out. Obviously the risk of wear and tear and injuries, fatigue means you cannot do a lot of training this week. That’s the downside but I think the boys like it like this, they keep moving on and with the 18 months that it has been, it was never going to be anything other.

“We have an All Ireland semi-final to look forward to and it’s a challenge the boys will relish.”