Kelly hits out after Louth's quick exit
Derry 1-18 Louth 2-10
Published 20/06/2016 | 02:30
Colin Kelly claimed his Louth players were "running on empty" after falling victim of the six-day turnaround and crashing out of the All-Ireland SFC series on Saturday night.
The dreaded six-day turnaround has claimed a long list of casualties since the qualifiers were introduced 15 years ago, and while more of a rarity these days, this first round fixture somehow slipped through the cracks, forcing Louth to travel to Owenbeg less than a week after losing to Meath in the Leinster championship.
"Today's defeat was more about the hand we were dealt than the quality of the team," said Kelly.
"We were just tired and out on our feet. I'm really, really disappointed for the players the way they've been treated. These people (in Croke Park) speak about player welfare - but they don't understand player welfare.
"If they want to talk about player welfare, then come into that dressing room and see the emotions of the Louth players and the physical condition of the Louth players.
"It's nothing short of disgraceful.
"There's people sitting in offices making these decisions and did they get it wrong? It's incredible."
James Kielt scored 1-9 to put Derry through to this morning's Round 2A draw, his expertly-taken penalty in the 66th minute putting the gloss on a good evening's work for the home side.
"We're just glad to get over it," said Derry manager Damian Barton, "we've had four weeks since losing to Tyrone and there's just a feeling of relief for the players, and ourselves too." Only 1,632 supporters turned out to see it, and despite their annoyance, Division Four champions Louth started well and led by a point, 1-5 to 0-7, at half-time.
Jim McEneaney buried a 15th minute penalty past Derry's 38-year-old goalkeeping coach Mickey Conlan, who had to start between the posts due to injuries to both their keepers, in his first Derry appearance since 2011.
Christopher Bradley and Kielt scored twice each from play for Derry, who also forced Louth keeper Craig Lynch into three smart saves in the opening half.
Derry grew stronger after the break, reeling off seven points in a row to take command with in-form Kielt punishing every Louth indiscretion by nailing every free 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.
Any hopes of an against-all-odds comeback by Louth were dashed however when Kielt settled Derry's nerves with a free and then stroking a penalty into the top corner after Danny Heavron was hauled down in the square.
The visitors' race was run and their top-scorer Declan Byrne received a straight red card in stoppage time to complete a miserable week, and all too brief summer, for Louth.
SCORERS - Derry: J Kielt 1-9 (6f, 1 pen), C Bradley 0-3 (1f), E McGuckin and M Lynch (2f) 0-2 each, N Toner and E Bradley 0-1 each; Louth: D Byrne 1-3, J McEneaney 1-1 (pen), J Califf 0-4 (4f), R Burns (1f) and C Grimes 0-1 each.
DERRY: M Conlan 7; G McKinless 6, C Mullan 7, K McKaigue 7; N Forrester 8, B Rogers 7, L McGoldrick 6; C McAtamney 7, N Holly 7; D Heavron 7, C Bradley 7, E Brown 6; J Kielt 9, E McGuckin 8, M Lynch 7. Subs: K Johnston 6 for McGoldrick (43), N Loughlin 6 for Brown (43), N Toner 7 for Lynch (49), E Bradley 7 for Holly (52), O Duffy 6 for Mullan (64), S Heavron for McGuckin (70).
LOUTH: C Lynch 7; P Rath 7, P Reilly 6, J Bingham 6; D Maguire 7, D McMahon 6, A Williams 6; J Stewart 6, J Califf 7; D Byrne 8, J McEneaney 8, R Moore 6; E Lafferty 6, C Grimes 7, R Burns 6. Subs: G McSorley 6 for McEneaney (43), A Reid 6 for Moore (47), B Duffy 6 for Stewart (51), J McEneaney for Burns (65).
Ref - Marty Duffy (Sligo).