Tuesday 23 January 2018

Clarke ensures it's honours even in free-scoring affair

Derry 0-16 Armagh 0-16

Derry and Armagh could not be separated in a free-scoring shootout at Celtic Park last night in a game that saw many momentous shifts over the 70 minutes.

Derry and Armagh could not be separated in a free-scoring shootout at Celtic Park last night in a game that saw many momentous shifts over the 70 minutes.

With the home defence looking very porous in the opening minutes, Armagh started brightly as Gavin McParland, Jamie Clarke and Kevin Dyas kicked early points.

The visitors could have been even further ahead, but Ciaran McKeever was denied by Derry 'keeper Thomas Mallon in a one-on-one after five minutes. McParland took advantage of over-elaboration in the heart of the Derry defence to kick Armagh's fourth point before Charlie Kielt raised the white flag on 17 minutes to get the Oak Leafers off the mark.

Having found their range, Derry kicked three more points in as many minutes as Emmett McGuckin, Lee Kennedy and James Kielt were on target to level matters at 0-4 apiece after 25 minutes

Armagh edged back in front from Aaron Kernan's 27th-minute free but James Kielt pointed three times, twice from frees and once from play to see Derry lead by 0-7 to 0-5 on 32 minutes, before Johnny Hanratty's injury-time effort for Armagh closed the margin to a point at half-time.

As with the first half, Armagh sped out of the blocks and three scores from Stefan Forker, Kernan (free) and Stephen Harold saw Armagh lead 0-9 to 0-7. James Kielt kicked a super point to pull one back but Kernan and Forker added frees and Declan McKenna pointed to make it 0-12 to 0-8.

Then Lee Kennedy, from a narrow angle, and two James Kielt frees got Derry back within a point with 55 minutes played, but the game looked to be going Armagh's way when substitute Anto Duffy and McParland scored to make it 0-14 to 0-11 with an hour gone.

But again the pendulum swung as Mark Lynch, Kennedy, Danny Heavron and Enda Lynn helped Derry to a 0-15 to 0-14 lead on 64 minutes. A nerveless Clarke free restored parity but James Kielt's eighth point of the game again saw Derry inch ahead before Clarke again levelled matters.

Derry had one late chance to sneak it with a free from the left flank in injury-time but Lynch's effort drifted wide and the teams couldn't be separated.

Scorers – Derry: J Kielt 0-8 (5f), L Kennedy 0-3, C Kielt, D Heavron, E Lynn, E McGuckin, M Lynch 0-1 each. Armagh: G McParland, A Kernan (3f), J Clarke (1f) 0-3 each, S Forker 0-2, J Hanratty, S Harold, K Dyas, J Hanratty, A Duffy 0-1 each.

Derry: T Mallon; G O'Kane, C McKaigue, D McBride; C Kielt, M Lynch, SL McGoldrick; P Bradley, PJ McCloskey; D Heavron, J Kielt, E Lynn; B Henry, E McGuckin, L Kennedy. Subs: R Wilkinson for McGuckin (50), C McFaul for Heron (60).

Armagh: P McEvoy; J Morgan, J Donnelly, D McKenna; A Kernan, B Donaghy, C McKeever; J Lavery, S Harold; K Dyas, J Hanratty, C Rafferty; J Clarke, S Forker, G McParland. Subs: M Shields for Morgan (42), G McCoey for Donnelly (44), A Duffy for McKeever (50), T Kernan for Hanratty (59), B Mallon for A Kernan (63).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford)

Irish Independent

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