Sunday 25 February 2018

McGuckin's fist turns tide for Derry after early lapses lift Laois

Derry 1-17 Laois 2-11

The midfield dominance of Patsy Bradley and man-of-the-match PJ McCloskey paved the way for Derry to come back from a four-point half-time deficit to see off Laois at Celtic Park.

Derry manager Brian McIver was delighted to get the two points after last week's loss to Galway and feels his team can look forward to the rest of their Division 2 campaign

"I think most people would have expected Galway and Laois to be contesting promotion and Laois showed last week against Armagh that they are a very good side so that was a big result for us," he said.

"Even in the first half, I thought we were playing well. We handed them 2-1 on a plate but in the second half we cut out those lapses."

Defensive errors had allowed Laois to build that advantage with goals from Ross Munnelly and Damien O'Connor, but in the second half Derry dominated, and Emmett McGuckin's goal proved crucial.

The Celtic Park pitch held up well in tough conditions and the scores flowed freely in the opening half. By the 11th minute mark it was 0-4 apiece when Derry skipper Mark Lynch kicked a pass straight to Laois full-forward Padraig Clancy, who laid the ball off to Munnelly, and he finished clinically to the net.

Derry responded well to that set back with McGuckin, James Kielt (two) and Eoin Bradley raising the white flag in response to a Gary Walsh free to tie matters up at 0-8 to 1-5. But defensive laxity cost Derry again as Damien O'Connor was given the freedom of the park to fire home the second Laois goal.

Eoin Bradley kicked a response for Derry but with Munnelly pointing and Walsh tacking on another free, Justin McNulty's side led by 2-7 to 0-9 at the break.

In the second half Derry were dominant. McGuckin kicked an early free, while Bradley and Ryan Ferris scored points from play. But with Padraig McMahon, Colm Kelly and Conor Boyle kicking scores, Laois still led by 2-10 to 1-12 at the end of the third quarter.

The turning point for Derry came when Kielt's attempted point dropped short and McGuckin leaped high to get his fist to the ball and direct it to the Laois net. With Bradley and Kielt (free) adding quick points Derry led by 1-15 to 2-10 with 12 minutes to play.

Even the sending off of Kielt couldn't derail Derry as Lynch and Enda Lynn stretched their lead.

Darren Strong's late point did bring Laois back to within a goal but Derry never looked like conceding three points and they emerged as worthy winners.

Man of the Match: PJ McCloskey (Derry)

Scorers–Derry: E McGuckin 1-3 (2f), E Bradley 0-5 (1f), J Kielt 0-3 (1f) R Ferris 0-2, D McBride, PJ McCloskey, E Lynn, M Lynch 0-1 each. Laois: R Munnelly (1f), G Walsh (3f) 0-3 each, B Sheehan, D O'Connor 1-0 each, D Strong, C Boyle, C Kelly, P Clancy, P McMahon 0-1 each

Derry–T Mallon 6; R Ferris 6, D McBride 7, C Kielt 6; C McKaigue 8, M Lynch 7, SL McGoldrick 6; Patsy Bradley 8, PJ McCloskey 9; B McGoldrick 6, E Lynn 6, J Kielt 7; C Devlin 6, E McGuckin 8, E Bradley 8. Subs: R Wilkinson 7 for B McGoldrick (51), B Heron 6 for Ferris (53), D Heavron 6 for Devlin (61).

Laois–E Culliton 6; C Healy 5, K Meaney 5, P O'Leary 5; D Strong 6, J O'Loughlin 6, C Boyle 7; B Quigley 6, C Begley 6; R Munnelly 8, G Walsh 6, Billy Sheehan 6; A Doran 5, P Clancy 5, D O'Connor 6. Subs: D Booth for Healy 5 (34), C Kelly 6 for Doran (h-t), P McMahon 6 for Walsh (50).

Ref–J McQuillan (Cavan).

Irish Independent

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