McGuckin finale punishes Lilywhites
Derry 1-18 Kildare 1-17
Derry lifted themselves off the foot of Division 2 after an Emmett McGuckin goal deep in injury-time snatched a one-point win over Kildare at Celtic Park.
In a wonderfully open contest, the Lilywhites looked set to extend their lead at the top of the table when Fergal Conway's fisted point in the 70th minute handed his side a two-point advantage.
However, Damian Barton's men rallied one last time and when Ryan Bell's shot was only parried by Kildare keeper Mark Donnellan, McGuckin was Derry's fox in the box to jab the ball into the back of the net and herald the Oak Leaf's first win of the campaign.
Despite first appearing to disallow the Derry goal, referee Sean Hurson awarded the late winner to the home team after consulting with his umpire.
Derry assistant manager Brian McGuckin was adamant the controversial decision was correct.
"I saw it extremely clearly," he said. "Genuinely I didn't see any issues with it. It was a high ball in, Emmett McGuckin contested it.
"His eyes were on the ball, his fist was on the ball and he put the ball in the back of the net.
"And also can I say that the umpire was closer to it than any of the rest of us and he was very clear it was a green flag."
But for four successive wides to end the half, Kildare would have been in a much happier position than their still healthy 1-10 to 0-8 lead at the break.
Chris Healy marked his first senior start for the Lilywhites with the only goal of the first 35 minutes, clinically finishing after Neil Flynn's quick thinking caught the Derry rearguard napping.
With as many as nine players on the scoreboard in the first-half alone, Kildare were flying, with Neil Flynn, Niall Kelly and Daniel Flynn all finding their range.
However, Derry came roaring out for the second-half and their eight consecutive points, most of them from the left foot of James Kielt, laid the foundations for a sterling comeback win.
SCORERS - Derry: J Kielt 0-9 (5f), E McGuckin 1-1, C McWilliams 0-3, N Loughlin 0-2, E Lynn, C McAtamney, D Tallon 0-1 each. Kildare: N Flynn 0-5 (4f), D Flynn, N Kelly 0-3 each, C Healy 1-0, F Conway 0-2, T Moolick, K Feely, J Byrne, K Cribbin 0-1 each
DERRY: C McLarnon 8, N Keenan 8, C Nevin 6, P Hagan 6, N Forester 7, O Duffin 6, M McEvoy 6, J Kielt 9, C McAtamney 7, E Lynn 7, E McGuckin 8, C McWilliams 8, D Tallon 6, N Loughlin 7, B Heron 7. Subs: O Hegarty 8 for P Hagan, R Bell 7 for D Tallon, M Craig 7 for O Duffin (68), G O'Neill 6 for C McWilliams (70)
KILDARE: M Donnellan 6, M O'Grady 6, D Hyland 7, O Lyons 8, J Byrne 6, E Doyle 7, K Cribbin 8, K Feely 8, T Moolick 7, F Conway 7, N Kelly 8, P Kelly 7, N Flynn 8, D Flynn 8, C Healy 7. Subs: C McNally 6 for K Cribbin, E Callaghan 6 for C Healy (56), F Dowling 6 for T Moolick (60), S Ryan 6 for J Byrne (60 BC)
Ref: S Hurson (Tyrone)