Kielt salvages draw at death against wasteful Clare
Derry 0-11 Clare1-8
Derry needed a last-gasp point from James Kielt to earn a share of the spoils with a wayward-shooting Clare after a dramatic encounter at Celtic Park yesterday.
Ciaran Russell's second point of the contest, in Clare's final attack, appeared to have snatched victory for Colm Collins's side.
But with just seconds remaining, the home side managed to work the ball out wide to Kielt who, with plenty still to do, converted a difficult effort from 40 yards to save Derry's skin.
The Oakleafers enjoyed a slight advantage when they ran in 0-6 to 0-5 up at half-time despite the Banner men chiselling out two or three decent goal chances that could have settled matters early on.
When Jamie Malone did finally beat Thomas Mallon with a simple palm home in the 44th minute it handed Clare a two-point lead.
But from then on the contest swayed one way and then the next with the Banner men, in particular, by far the guiltier of the two sides on the wide count.
Niall Keenan, in his National League debut, was the pick of the Derry players, while Eoin Cleary top scored for the visitors.
Midfielder Gary Brennan - who lined out following the previous day's hurling All-Ireland semi-final heroics with Ballyea in Thurles - claimed the only mark of the day which led directly to a fine Liam Markham point.
As both sides wrestled for the win, it would be Damian Barton's side that would have the final say.
Captain Enda Lynn spurned a late goal effort after his effort was smothered Joe Hayes save, before Kielt's levelling point earned his side a share of the spoils.
Scorers - Derry: J Kielt 0-4 (1f), E Lynn, N Loughlin (1f) and C McWilliams (1f) 0-2 each, M Lynch 0-1f. Clare: E Cleary 0-3f, J Malone 1-0, C Russell 0-2, L Markham, S Collins and D Tubridy 0-1 each.
Derry: T Mallon 6; N Keenan 9, C Nevin 7, R Murphy 7; N Forester 8, M McEvoy 7, P Hagan 6; C McAtamney 6, J Kielt 9; E Lynn 8, N Loughlin 7, C McWilliams 7; M Lynch 6, E McGuckin 7, B Heron 6. Subs: D Tallon 7 for B Heron (26), G O'Neill 6 for C McAtamney (55), J Doherty 6 for P Hagan (59), O Hegarty 6 for C Nevin (60).
Clare: J Hayes 7; M McMahon 7, C O'Dea 7, J Hayes 8; L Markham 8, G Kelly 8, D Ryan 7; G Brennan 8, C Russell 9; J Malone 8, S Collins 7, S Brennan 7; E Cleary 8, D Tubridy 7, K Sexton 6. Subs: D Nagle 5 for C O'Dea (49), E Collins 6 for D Nagle (BC 55), S Malone 6 for K Sexton (59), S McGrath 6 for S Collins (59), G O'Brien 6 for M McMahon (BC 60), D Egan 6 for S Brennan (70).
Ref: N Cullen (Fermanagh).