Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hotshot Clarke rues failure to 'push on' as he takes his leave

Derry 0-16 Armagh 0-16

Armagh will need no reminder of what they will be missing for the rest of their league campaign after Jamie Clarke kicked a last-minute equaliser at Celtic Park.

Clarke won't feature for Armagh again until the championship, as he is heading off travelling.

There were mixed emotions for the Crossmaglen forward following a match which Armagh looked well placed to win on a number of occasions but then were relieved to see Derry skipper Mark Lynch's long-range effort drift wide in injury-time.

Clarke's side dominated the opening quarter and led by 0-4 to 0-0 early on but they could have been out of sight had they taken their chances.

Even after they let Derry back into the game in the second quarter, Armagh still worked their way into what looked winning position when they led 0-14 to 0-11 with 10 minutes to go.

Clarke lamented the missed chances, saying: "We probably should have pushed on. That's something we really need to work on. But we are improving game after game and that was a decent result."


Derry manager Brian McIver was also happy with the draw.

"After 10 or 12 minutes we'd have settled for the draw because we were all over the place. Twice in the game we had to come back from the dead.

"We didn't anticipate starting as slowly as that. Again at half-time we thought we should be kicking on and instead it was them that kicked on, but we came back and towards the end I thought we looked like the side most likely to win it."

The star of the show for Derry was James Kielt, who kicked eight points, and McIver was full of praise for the Kilrea man.

"I was delighted with James' performance, that's the best that I have seen him," said the manager.

"He was absolutely top-class, but in spells other players performed really well.

"There were some good scores, and if Mark Lynch's effort in the last minute had gone over it would have been some way to win it.

"It would have been a great game to win but at the same token it would have been a desperate game to lose."

Man of the match: J Kielt (Derry)

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, J Clarke (1f), A Kernan (3f) 0-3 each, S Forker 0-2, J Hanratty, S Harold, K Dyas, J Hanratty, A Duffy 0-1 each.

Derry – T Mallon 5; G O'Kane 6, C McKaigue 6, D McBride 6; C Kielt 7, M Lynch 6, S L McGoldrick 6; P Bradley 6, PJ McCloskey 6; D Heavron 6, J Kielt 8, E Lynn 5; B Heron 5, E McGuckin 6, L Kennedy 7. Subs: R Wilkinson 5 for McGuckin (50), C McFaul 5 for Heron (60).

Armagh – P McEvoy 5; J Morgan 5, J Donnelly 5, D McKenna 6; A Kernan 6, B Donaghy 5, C McKeever 6; J Lavery 6, S Harold 6; K Dyas 6, J Hanratty 5, C Rafferty 5; J Clarke 7, S Forker 6, G McParland 7. Subs: M Shields 6 for Morgan (42), G McCoey 5 for Donnelly (44), A Duffy 6 for McKeever (50), T Kernan 6 for Hanratty (59), B Mallon 6 for A Kernan (63).

Ref – F Kelly (Longford)

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