By Peter Nolan
Derry 0-10, St. Barnabas 0-8
Derry moved to the top of the Junior Football division with a hard-fought victory over St. Barnabas in an entertaining curtain raiser Sunday at Gaelic Park.
These two sides came into the match in excellent scoring form but the expected scoring fest never took pace. This close-marking, hard-hitting match had the feel of a playoff contest, with little quarter asked or given.
Derry were first on the scoreboard when Anthony Power drove over the first of his 0-6 for the match. Dave O’Halloran quickly replied for St. Barnabas, setting the pattern for the game as O’Halloran wound up with 0-6 of his own.
Derry controlled the first quarter with Ruari O’Neill and Darren Doherty keeping Power and company well supplied from their midfield perch. Gary Rocks pointed a free, and two points from Power stretched the Derry advantage to 0-4 to 0-1.
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O’Halloran pointed twice, first from a free and then from a JP Kirwan pass to bring Barnabas within a point, 0-4 to 0-3. Ruari McCloskey of Derry and Ray Gough of St. Barnabas exchanged points, before a Power free set the half time score of 0-6 to 0-4, in Derry’s favor.
A determined Baranbas side took the initiative after the restart. O’Halloran pointed and then Pat Flynn equalized. The versatile Flynn switched from corner back to midfield. Barnabas couldn’t hold onto their share of the lead and Power soon slotted over a fine point to reclaim the lead for Derry. Gary Rocks pointed twice from frees, before O’Halloran could interrupt with a Barnabas point.
The two sides battled hard right up to the final buzzer and Derry maintained their 0-2 edge for a hard-earned victory.
Man of the Match: Anthony Power.
Derry: Martin O’Connor, Stephen Keating, Kevin Heaney, John McKeefry, Gerry Quinn, Mike Conway, Mike Donnelly, Ruari O’Neill, JP Forbes, Mickey McCloskey, Dermot Niblock, Ruari McCloskey (0-1), Anthony Power (0-6), Gary Rocks (0-3).
St. Barnabas: Eamon Deane, Pat Flynn (0-1), Dave Garvey, Brendan O’Sullivan, Ray Gough (0-1), Ed Grennan, Brian Montgomery, Ronan Garvey, Tony Nolan, Sean Carbin, Dave O’Halloran (0-6), Kieran Myles, Johnathan Daly, Darren Meany, J.P. Kirwin.