Sammon Men Turn Up Heat at the Top; Closed Down: Galways Fiachra Breathnach Is Denied Space on the Ball by Kevin McGuckin and Michael McBride of Derry

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GALWAY remained on track for a first league title since 1981 when theyoutclassed Derry at Pearse Stadium. Indeed, the final scoreline would have beenembarrassing for Paddy Croziers men were it not for the heroics of goalkeeperJohn Deighan.

The Limavady keeper, who had conceded just two goals in the league campaignprior to this game, produced a string of point-blank saves to deny a rampantGalway side.

Joe Bergin, Clancy, Michael Meehan and Gary Sice were all denied in one-on-onesituations by Deighan.

We took a bad beating out there today, said Derry manager Paddy Crozier. Theycould have got another few goals. We were opened far too easily and there is aharsh lesson to be learned from this.

Crozier said that the unavailable Fergal Doherty was a big loss, while they didnot get sufficient ball into their attack.

Galway had a greater hunger on the day and you cannot give the likes of MichaelMeehan and Padraic Joyce space because they will punish you, added Crozier.

This was a big win for Galway, not least the way they stood up to the physicalchallenge offered by Derry. The Galway defence was superb with all six winningtheir individual battles.

Liam Sammons side played Matthew Clancy as a roving corner forward to greateffect and, with Barry Cullinane producing a man-of-the-match display in themiddle the field, the Tribesmen also had ample possession.

Our six backs gave us a great platform to build on. I thought they were superb.It was important not to concede a goal today, while we created plenty ofchances, said Sammon.

Indeed, Galway wasted little time in carving open the Derry defence and Deighanwas called upon within 60 seconds to deny Joe Bergin after a superb pass fromPadraic Joyce.

The pressure yielded points for Clancy and Fiachra Breathnach before Derryenjoyed their best spell of the game towards the end of the first quarter.

With the Galway full back line on top, Derry were forced to shoot from distanceand Enda Muldoon got them off the mark after 10 minutes with a fine effort from45 metres.

Mark Lynch followed up with a similar long-range point before the Galwaydefence suffered a rare breach when Lynchs solo run ended with a shot that wasdeflected over the bar by Damian Burke. …