DERRYGAA: Charlie Diamond and Sean Deehan star as Oak Under 20s defeat Donegal

​​Leo Murphy Under 20 Cup
Derry’s Charlie Diamond. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2052GS - 005Derry’s Charlie Diamond. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2052GS - 005
Derry’s Charlie Diamond. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2052GS - 005

Derry 1-14, Donegal 0-12

Despite a few rocky periods, Derry still finished comfortable five point winners over holders Donegal in the first round of the Leo Murphy Cup at Owenbeg on Saturday afternoon.

The victory was made more notable in that Derry were minus at least eight potential starters due to injuries and players in the senior


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In the first half Bellaghy’s Charlie Diamond led the line with four points while in the second, the very athletic Sean Deehan from Limavady Wolfhounds dominated the midfield area. He set up moves, finished moves and put Donegal on the back foot every time he got possession. After missing the most of two seasons due to a cruciate ligament injury it was great to see this exciting young footballer back at his best.

While Derry never really looked like losing the game they had some sloppy moments in defence but they always had enough at midfield and in attack to compensate. Overall it was an entertaining encounter with Donegal attack leader, Sean Ward, looking to be one for the future.

Derry’s five point winning margin could well have been greater. Niall McGonigle, son of the legendary Geoffrey and Deehan both saw efforts came back of a post and Callum Downey missed the proverbial sitter. Next Saturday it is the long trip to take on Mayo at the Connacht GAA Centre and this will be a tougher test than Donegal.

Derry started smartly with two Diamond points in the opening three minutes but Donegal had an innings and hit the next four scores. Central attackers Shaun Ward and David Boyle levelled matters

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and the visitors quickly went ahead with a clever score from corner forward Blake McGarvey.

In the 11 th minute Ward landed a wonderful free from beyond 50m for a 0-4 to 0-2 lead. Derry worked their way back into the game with a super 16th minute free from Diamond. Two minutes later the energetic Niall McGonigle made it a drawn game.

Derry then went in front from another long distance Diamond free and took almost total control in the period leading up to half time. First Downey gave the Oaks a two point lead followed by another from Ruairi O’Mianain while in the 24th minute Senan Quinn got Donegal’s last point of the half.

Derry still bombed forward and finished the half with points from McGonigle and Diamond for a 0-9 to 0-5 lead. They had outscored Donegal by 0-7 to 0-1 from the 16 th minute.

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Donegal sub Daniel Marley cut the Derry lead to three on the restart but that score was soon wipe out when Sean Deehan slalomed through the opposing defence to restore the four point lead.

Three minutes into the half Diamond finished a pass from Peter McCullagh low past keeper Mark Gordon to open up a seven point lead.

A free from full forward David Boyle kept Donegal in touch as a converted ‘mark’ from McGongle was answered by a Ward free.

A black card for sub Eoin Higgins knocked Derry off their stride for a spell and Donegal hit the next three points from Boyle (f), sub Marley and Karl McGee to leave the score 1-11 to 0-11.

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A brilliant point from Deehan put Derry back in control as impressive Donegal sub Daniel Marley got their final point.

Derry finished the stronger with McGonigle (f) and a solo point from Peter McCullagh to wrap up a satisfying win.

Derry scorers: Charlie Diamond 1-5, Niall McGongle 0-4, Sean Deehan 0-2, Ruairi O’Maonain (0-1), Peter McCullagh (0-1), Callum Downey (0-1).

Donegal scorers: Shaun Ward 0-4, David Boyle 0-3, Daniel Marley 0-2, Blake McGarvey, Karl McGee and Senan Quinn 0-1 each.

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Derry: James Gribbin, Jude Moore, Adam McLaughlin, James Murray, Danny McDermott, Conor Shiels, Ronan Walls, Patrick O’Kane, Sean Deehan, Peter McCullagh, Charlie Diamond, Ruairi O Mainain, Ciaran Chambers, Niall McGonigle, Callum Downey (Subs) Eoin Higgin for R O Mainain (39); Ciaran Heron for R Walls (45); Jack Cassidy for C

Chambers (50); Ciaran Bateson for C Downey (60).

Donegal: Mark Gordon, Ferdia Doher, Sean Doherty, Cian Mulligan, Kyle Murray, Aaron Ward, Karl McGee, Oisin Caulfield, Senan Quinn,

Fionnnan Coyle, Shaun Ward, Christy Mulligan, Conor O’Neill, David

Boyle, Blake McGarvey (Subs) D Marley for B McGarvey (18), C Reid for S Quinn (HT). D O’Fearraigh.

Referee: Conall Roberts

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