Derry find extra gear against 14-man Louth
Derry 1-18 2-10 Louth
The six-day turnaround proved too much for Louth, whose challenge faded visibly in the second half of last night's All-Ireland qualifier in Owenbeg as Derry booked their place in the second round draw.
Louth, forced to field just six days after losing in the Leinster championship to Meath, led by a point at half time but faded badly with Derry reeling off seven points in a row to take command.
James Kielt hit 1-9, his 66th minute penalty sealing victory over 14-man Louth who lost Declan Byrne, their top scorer with 1-3 from play, to a straight red card in injury-time.
In what was a first ever championship meeting between the counties, Louth were 1-5 to 0-7 up at half time, Jim McEneaney's 15th minute penalty giving them an early platform.
The sides were level four times in the opening half and were 0-2 apiece after 13 minutes, James Califf and Ryan Burns nailing frees for Louth and Derry hitting points from play through James Kielt and Christopher Bradley.
Referee Marty Duffy awarded Louth a penalty when McEneaney was pushed after trying to connect with Conor Grimes' pass across the square.
He stepped up and drilled the ball low past Derry's 38-year-old goalkeeping coach Mickey Conlan – who was a surprise starter in goals due to injuries to both 'keepers – for his first inter-county appearance in five years.
Derry, back in action four weeks after losing to Tyrone in Ulster, were threatening up front. Mark Lynch and Emmet McGuckin caused problems and with James Kielt and Christopher Bradley running off their shoulder, they should have had more on the board at the break.
Louth 'keeper Craig Lynch was forced into making three saves from Lynch, McGuckin and Bradley but Derry still drew level at 0-5 to 1-2 after 24 minutes.
Louth failed to score for 16 minutes after the penalty but Declan Byrne's 31st minute point put them in front again and Kielt and Califf traded points towards the end of a forgettable first half.
After a turgid opening period, the second half was much more open and Derry reeled off seven points in a row as Louth's challenge faded.
The wee county's six-day turnaround seemed to be a factor as the home side grew in ascendancy with points from McGuckin and on-fire Kielt punishing every Louth foul inside 50m.
There was brief respite for Louth when Declan Byrne buried their second goal on the hour mark, cutting inside the 'keeper to drill the ball into the roof of the net, to bring his team to within two points.
However Kielt settled it with a free and an expertly-taken penalty in the 66th minute, after Danny Heavron was hauled down in the square.
Derry are now through to Round 2A of the qualifiers, the draw for the next round taking place on Monday morning.
Scorers for Derry – J Kielt 1-9 (6f, 1 pen), C Bradley 0-3 (1f), E McGuckin 0-2, M Lynch (0-2, 2f), N Toner 0-1, E Bradley 0-1
Scorers for Louth – D Byrne 1-3, J McEneaney 1-1 (pen), J Califf 0-4 (4f), R Burns 0-1 (f), C Grimes 0-1
DERRY: M Conlan; G McKinless, C Mullan, K McKaigue; N Forrester, B Rogers, L McGoldrick; C McAtamney, N Holly; D Heavron, C Bradley, E Brown; J Kielt, E McGuckin, M Lynch
Subs: K Johnston for McGoldrick (43), N Loughlin for Brown (43), N Toner (0-1) for Lynch (49), E Bradley (0-1) for Holly (52), O Duffy for Mullan (64), S Heavron for McGuckin (70)
LOUTH: C Lynch; P Rath, P Reilly, J Bingham; D Maguire, D McMahon, A Williams; J Stewart, J Califf; D Byrne, J McEneaney, R Moore; E Lafferty, C Grimes, R Burns
Subs: G McSorley for McEneaney (43), A Reid for Moore (47), B Duffy for Stewart (51), J McEneaney for Burns (65)
REFEREE: Marty Duffy (Sligo)