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Gaelic Football: Tough Oak boys can't stop Rebels from rising; Derry..............1-12; Cork................1-24: SO EASY FOR CORK TO TURN OVER NEW LEAF.

Byline: DES McCALLION

HAVING claimed after last weekend's defeat to Offaly that his side lacked leaders, Derry manager Dominic McKinley will have been pleased with the efforts of his side against Cork at Swatragh on Saturday.

Derry gave a gritty performance, particularly in defence, against a Cork side which seemingly has its sights set on National League glory.

This victory, Cork's third from three matches in Division 1B, signalled their intent and while the 12 points margin is probably a fair reflection of the gulf between the sides, it was harsh on a Derry team which played very well.

Changed

The Oak Leaf men did, however, lack penetration and while several refereeing decisions did go against them, they can have little complaint as they wouldn't have changed the result.

On the plus side, the return to action of Geoffrey McGonigle - a second half substitute - will have pleased McKinley, despite the fact that he was well marked by Diarmuid O'Sullivan and managed only one point during his half hour.

Cork opened brightly and for the first 10 minutes were accurate with their chances, with Niall McCarthy, Joe Deane (0-2) and Jerry O'Connor (0-2) putting them 0-05 to 0-01 ahead. The home score came from an Olly Collins free.

Throughout the 70 minutes, Collins was accurate and finished with a personal tally of 0-8.

That, however, wasn't enough against a Cork side which scored from all areas of the pitch.

Derry did fight back in the second quarter with Collins and Danny McGrellis on the mark.

But Cork maintained their lead with Neil Ronan particularly accurate. Ronan's introduction in the 21st minute in place of Niall McCarthy was a turning point as Derry had trouble in containing the centre half forward.

Derry's hopes of a shock victory increased in the dying seconds of the opening period when they found the net for their only goal of the game. Confusion in the Cork defence allowed Dermot Doherty time and space and he had little difficulty in finding the corner of the net to leave the home side trailing 0-13 to 1-07 at the interval.

Cork opened the second half brightly and stretched their lead thanks to points from Timmy McCarthy and Joe Deane, but Derry fought back with Collins pointing a couple of frees.

With Derry remaining in touch, Cork had to up a gear and when they did they beat Kieran Stevenson for the only time in the afternoon.

A long high ball to the edge of the square was misjudged by the otherwise magnificent Emmett McKeever and Deane was in the right place at the right time to lash the sliothar past Stevenson.

That strike effectively ended Derry's challenge, but they battled to the end with McGonigle, Collins and Dominic Magill all on the mark.

However, Ronan, Jerry O'Connor, Sean McGrath and Deane scored at will for the visitors who ran out comfortable winners.

Derry's hopes of mounting a late challenge were hampered when Danny McGrellis was stretchered from the field in the closing minutes with a nasty looking injury and his participation in next week's clash with Tipperary looks unlikely.

The Oak Leaf men always knew that this league campaign would be long and difficult.

With so many key players missing, they're finding out just how onerous it is against the top sides in the country.

DERRY: K. Stevenson; E. McKeever, G. Brunton, R. Lynch; B. Ward, M. Conway, D. Magill (0-1); R. McCloskey (0-1), A. McCloskey; G. Biggs, O. Collins (0-8), D. McGrellis (0-1); F. McEldowney, P. O'Kane, D. Doherty (1-0). Subs. C. Brunton for Ward (37 mins); G. McGonigle (0-1) for McEldowney (41 mins); R. Kennedy for A. McCloskey (45 mins); M. Collins for McGrellis (58 mins).

CORK: D. Cusack; M. Prendergast, D. O'Sullivan, W. Sherlock; D. Barrett, F. Ryan, S. O'hAilpin; A. Cummins (0-2), T. McCarthy (0-1); B. O'Connor, N. McCarthy (0-1), J. O'Connor (0-4); S. McGrath (0-3), E. Collins (0-2), J. Deane (1-5). Subs. N. Ronan (0-5) for McCarthy (21 mins); P. Ryan for B. O'Connor (58 mins); T. Kenny for F. Ryan (61 mins); P. Mulcahy for Prendergast (64 mins); S. Gardiner for Barrett (66 mins).

REFEREE: J. A. Gribben (Down).

CAPTION(S):

FREE & EASY: Cork's deadly accurate free-taker Joe Deane; TOUCH OF CLASS: Sean Og O'hAilpin returned for Cork at Swatragh on Saturday; POINT TAKEN: \ Geoffrey McGonigle got little space off Diarmuid O'Sullivan
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2002
Words:729
Previous Article:Gaelic Football: McIver hails his new legends of the lough shore.
Next Article:HURLING: GRATT GOALS ENOUGH; Kildare..........1-15; Down..............2-13.


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