/ GAA

Derry 2-12 1-10 Fermanagh

Updated: Thursday, 24 Jan 2008 10:35

Colin Devlin's goal helped Derry claim victory
Colin Devlin's goal helped Derry claim victory

Saturday's Dr McKenna Cup final will be a Derry and Down affair after the Oak Leafers outfought Fermanagh in tightly-contested semi-final at Omagh last night.

Last winners of the title in 1999, a first half goal from Colin Devlin helped Derry lead by 1-6 to 0-5 at the break.

Sean Doherty netted to push Fermanagh ahead but a Sean Leo McGoldrick major proved crucial for Paddy Crozier's victors, who will meet Down in the Casement Park decider.

The game was trundling along until Devlin conjured up a fine goal in the 27th-minute. Derry were leading by 0-5 to 0-4 by that stage, with the free-taking of Matthew Keenan keeping Fermanagh in touch.

But the Ernesiders' goalkeeper Chris Breen could do nothing to stop Devlin from bulging the net after the Derry corner forward had sliced through on a powerful 40-metre run.

Strangely, 2007 All-Star Paddy Bradley, Derry's top scorer more often than not, landed just a single point in the opening half but it was an important one as it sent Crozier's men into the turnaround with a 1-6 to 0-5 buffer.

On the restart, a quick point from McGoldrick was cancelled out defiantly by a Fermanagh side that were determined to fight to the finish.

The Erne men charged into a sudden one-point lead with Doherty picking off the goal and Mark Little and Eamon Maguire adding points.

Derry got back level thanks to a brilliant left-footed score from Bradley and the Glenullin clubman then provided the assist for McGoldrick's goal.

Substitutes Paul Murphy and Enda Lynn were also involved in the move which ended with Bradley's crossed ball being knocked home by the well-placed McGoldrick.

Fermanagh never really recovered from the concession of that goal, allowing Derry, whose entire array of scores came from play, to march on into the weekend's final.

Derry: B Gillis; K McGuckin, L Hinphey, F McEldowney; M McBride (0-1), J Keenan, P O'Hea; J Conway (0-2), M Friel; A McElhone, C O'Kane (0-1), R Wilkinson; C Devlin (1-1), P Bradley (0-4), S McGoldrick (1-1).

Subs used: P Murphy for Friel, E Lynn (0-1) for O'Kane, D McBride for O'Hea, F Doherty (0-1) for McElhone, R Kealy for Wilkinson.

Fermanagh: C Breen; S Goan, P Mohan, D O'Reilly; T McElroy, S McDermott, D Kelly (0-1); M McGrath, M Murphy; M Little (0-2, 0-2f), S Doherty (1-2); C McElroy, P Cadden, M Keenan (0-3, 0-3f), E Maguire (0-1).

Subs used: P Sherry for O'Reilly, R Johnston for T McElroy, R Keenan (0-1) for C McElroy, C Boyle for Keenan, B Mulrone for Doherty.

Referee: Martin Sludden (Tyrone)