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Doherty surge puts seal on Derry comeback


Longford's Darragh Doherty helped prevent a comeback from Derry

Longford's Darragh Doherty helped prevent a comeback from Derry

Longford's Darragh Doherty helped prevent a comeback from Derry

A stirring second-half comeback from Derry broke Longford hearts and kept the Ulster champions on course.

The Oak Leafers found themselves four down at the interval, and they were lucky the gap wasn't wider as a well set-up Longford frustrated them.

Conor Berry's presence on the edge of the square caused havoc in the opening half-hour, with the first Longford goal coming when he broke a long ball to Darragh Doherty, who found the corner.

That put Longford 1-1 to 0-3 ahead, and they hit the post in a goalmouth scramble seconds later. The second goal arrived when Berry's dropping free was turned home by Peter Hanley.

Conor Glass tried to rouse Derry with a fine score from the right wing but the favourites trailed by 2-2 to 0-4 at the break.

But Derry slowly clawed the arrears back, with the superb Jack Doherty at the heart of the fightback. Shane McGuigan also stepped up in attack, while Niall Keenan was again magnificent in the Derry defence.

Ruairi Harkins pointed to put Longford 2-4 to 0-6 up after 44 minutes but that was to be their last score as McGuigan hit four on the bounce to level it.

Doherty then surged through to kick a superb score and put his side in front before Glass sealed Derry's passage with an injury-time free.

Scorers - Derry: S McGuigan 0-7 (2fs), J Doherty, C Glass 0-2 each, B Cassidy 0-1. Longford: C Berry 0-3 (2fs), P Hanley, D Doherty 1-0 each, R Harkins 0-1.

Derry - B McKinless; N Keenan, C McGrogan, C Maunsell; O Duffin, M McEvoy, E Concannon; P Kearney, J Doherty; P Coney, S Downey, C Glass; B Cassidy, B Grant, S McGuigan. Subs: S Higgins for Grant (35), F Higgins for Cassidy (38), N McAtamney for P Kearney (41), G McLaughlin for Duffin (50), F Kearney for Maunsell (53).

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Longford - M Hughes; M Cahill, R Sheahan, R Harkins; C Brady, R Moffatt, K Sorohan; C Berry, E Farrell; C McCabe, P Hanley, J Matthews; R Brady, P Lynn, D Doherty. Subs: L Barry for C Brady (blood , 21-23), R Hawkins for Moffatt (29), C Finnan for Doherty (53), L Barry for Sheahan (58), J Kelly for Hanley (59).

Ref - L Devenney (Mayo)

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