Allianz National Hurling League Division 2B
Kildare’s promotion hopes hit a major stumbling block as they were defeated by Derry in a tightly contested affair in St.Conleths Park.
The game was dominated by the free taking of both Brian Byrne and Cormac O’Doherty who contributed twenty one points between them but it was Derry who had just enough about them to seal the points.
Caolan Smith did plunder in an opening half goal for Kildare but they never really got any fluency in their game going and despite leading by a point at the break they fell up short.
The defeat coupled with Wicklow picking up a victory over Donegal means Kildare will travel to Aughrim next Sunday in near must win territory if they are to finish in the top 2.
Derry wasted little time in making their mark on the scoreboard as Alan Grant knocked an excellent effort between the posts on the back of a Thomas Brady pass in the opening minute of the game.
Brian Byrne responded with a free but the Oak Leaf county maintained the lead with Cormac O’Doherty converting a free of his own from out on the sideline.
Kildare weren’t down for long though and they got the game’s opening goal in the 12th minute as Diarmuid Cahill sped downfield and while his shot was well saved by Sean Kelly in the Derry goal, Caolan Smith was quickest to the rebound to force the ball to the net.
Byrne then followed up with his second free but that was cancelled out when O’Doherty knocked over a sublime point from a sideline cut.
Another Byrne free was then added to by a lovely effort from Barry Cormack and David Herity’s men suddenly had a 1-4 to 0-3 advantage halfway through the half.
Richie Mullan pointed for Derry to get the deficit back to three points before the teams exchanged scores over the next ten minutes in a real stop start half of Hurling.
Kildare registered with Paul Divilly and Brian Byrne scoring on the back of a wonderful score from Conor Dowling where both Divilly and Ross Kelly did well to put him in the clear.
Derry then replied with a brace of frees from O’Doherty to leave just four points separating the teams entering stoppage time.
With the Galway official being pretty whistle happy throughout there was five minutes added on and Derry took full advantage with Se McGuigan scoring from play before two more frees from O’Doherty ensured the Ulster side only went into the break trailing by the minimum on a 1-7 to 0-9 scoreline.
Derry made it four points on the bounce between the two halves’ when O’Doherty converted a free at the beginning of the second period to bring the sides level for only the second time.
Byrne replied in kind but the visitors were gradually getting on top and Mullan equalized before they had a glorious chance for goal when substitute Gerald Bradley had a shot well saved by Paddy McKenna but instead of letting the resulting rebound flow the referee blew bizarrely for an earlier free which O’Doherty blazed over.
Byrne knocked over another free in response but Derry kept the advantage with a trio of points from Mullen, Alan Grant and John Mullan.
Kildare then had a glorious opportunity to retake the lead in the 51st minute when a brilliant handpass from Cathal Dowling put Byrne in the clear and despite firing a shot towards goal, the Derry goalkeeper Sean Kelly stood tall and produced a brilliant save.
It proved to be a real turning point as Kildare never retook the lead again as the contest sea sawed from there till the end.
A hat-trick of frees from Byrne kept Kildare in touch but Derry were doing enough to keep their noses in front with scores from O’Doherty, Gerald Bradley and Se McGuigan.
Derry also looked to have claims for a penalty when Gerald Bradley appeared top be fouled in the square by Cathal Derivan but nothing was given.
Kildare did manage to draw level with five minutes remaining with points from Byrne and Paul Divilly but it was Derry who finished the stronger as scores from O’Doherty and Thomas Brady gave them a two point lead.
Like the first half there was a number of minutes added on but apart from a Byrne free and Paddy McKenna having a late placed ball saved, Kildare’s effort was done as Derry ended their unbeaten record with a 0-21 to 1-16 victory.
Derry: Sean Kelly; Conor Kelly, Sean Cassidy, Ruaidhri McCartney, Paddy Kelly, Brian Og McGilligan, Liam Hinphey, Mark McGuigan, Niall Ferris, Thomas Brady 0-1, Cormac O’Doherty 0-11 (0-10fs), Alan Grant 0-2, Naoise Waldron, Se McGuigan 0-2, Richie Mullan 0-3.
Subs used: Gerald Bradley 0-1 for Ferris h-t, John Mullan 0-1 for Waldron 47 mins, Cian Waldron for Grant 64 mins, Paul Cleary for Brady 68 mins.
Kildare: Paddy McKenna; Cathal Derivan, John Doran, James Dolan, Diarmuid Cahill, Martin Fitzgerald, Rian Boran, Niall O’Muinneachain, Ross Kelly, Paul Divilly 0-2, Brian Byrne 0-10 (0-10fs), Conor Dowling 0-1, Barry Cormack 0-2, Cathal Dowling, Caolan Smith 1-0.
Subs used: John Gorman 0-1 for Conor Dowling 48 mins, Sean Christiansen for Cahill 52 mins, Paul Kennedy for Kelly 60 mins.
Ref; Shane Hynes (Galway)
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