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15th Apr 2023

Goalkeeper’s ‘quarter back’ role proves pivotal as Derry dismantle Fermanagh

Lee Costello


Derry 3-17  2-08 Fermanagh.

Derry goalkeeper Odhran Lynch played a hybrid ‘quarter back’ role as he proved pivotal in helping his side dismantle Fermanagh in the Ulster Championship.

The Derry number one was comfortable in nets as you would expect from any inter-county goalkeeper, hoovering up Fermanagh’s few attempts of going route one with long balls in the first half.

However, it was when the Oakleaf county moved forward with the ball, that Lynch proved to be even more effective – he offered his teammates an option in the centre of the pitch, like a pivot man, to pick up the ball, and switch the play.


Bizarrely, Fermanagh set-up without a sweeper, and went man to man, meaning that the shot stopper was always free, and as soon as he released this, he started to play one-twos with his teammates and support the play with runs.

Space started to open up, and it didn’t take long for Lynch to find himself in enough room where he could just pop the ball over the bar, and get his first ever point in the championship.

Due to Fermanagh’s naivety in their set up, Shane McGuigan never had to drop deep, and when you have a forward of that quality staying so near the opposition goals, he was always going to punish them.

It didn’t take long for him to find the back of the net when he turned the full back, knowing that he would be the last man in defence, and he could have finished the first half with a hat-trick.

On other occasions he went for the top corner but over hit it slightly, and then in another instance he just decided to take the point and stretch the lead.

Kieran Donnelly’s men tried to go long with the kick outs early on, but this just played into the hands of Derry’s man mountains like Conor Glass, Niall Toner, and Brendan Rodgers.

Lynch played a key role again when he carried the ball forward once more, and instead of popping off another handy fist pass, he kept advancing towards the opposition, before spotting Paul Cassidy making a darting run forward.

The Derry keeper lobbed over a ball for Cassidy to run on to, and the forward did brilliantly, running straight at the heart of the fermanagh defence before putting it into the back of the net, despite spilling it to his feet and having to improvise with some soccer skills.

Another key mention has to be Eoin McAvoy, the 19-year-old full back who was making his senior championship debut today, and even though he technically lined out at corner forward, he dropped into his natural position in defence and was very effective.

McAvoy did fulfil the role of a corner forward however, and got the opening point of the game, before putting in a shift that could have nicked him the Man of the Match award.

The game burst into life however in the second half when a long ball into the Derry defence ended up in the hands of Che Cullen who found the back of the net.

Not even one minute later however, Derry were awarded a penalty that was converted by McGuigan to bag his second goal of the match.


Then unbelievably, another long ball into Rory Gallagher’s defenders, and they failed to deal with it before it spilled to Cullen once more, and the full back scored his second goal of the match.

The defending from Derry under the high ball will cause Gallagher a lot of concern, as they seemed to continually struggle with it in the second half.

That proved to be the end of the madness however, and Derry seen out the rest of the game clinically, and will now play the winner between Tyrone and Monaghan.

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