Byrne's late point settles Lilywhite nerves to send Derry down
Kildare 2-18 Derry1-16
A late burst of scores earned Kildare the victory in Newbridge yesterday that secures their Division 2A status while consigning Derry to relegation.
The home team led by just a point with seven minutes to go and were looking nervy but a huge point in the 63rd minute by dual star Johnny Byrne, their first score in 16 minutes, settled them down again.
First-half goals from Byrne and Martin Fitzgerald left Kildare in command but inside the final two minutes of the opening half, Oisin McCloskey latched on to a through ball and rounded Paul Dermody before hitting the net, and Kildare's lead was down to 2-9 to 1-9 at the break.
Although Philip Cocoman and Fitzgerald pointed within a minute of the restart to extend that lead to five, the free-taking of Ruairi Convery kept Derry in touch going into the final stages.
Frustrations boiled over in injury-time and Byrne was shown a straight red card for reacting to a wild swing by Anton Rafferty, who was also sent off, but Kildare held on to ensure they avoided the drop.
Scorers - Kildare: M Fitzgerald 1-9 (5fs, 3'65), J Byrne 1-3, P Ryan 0-3, P Cocoman 0-2, N O'Muineachain 0-1. Derry: R Convery 0-10 (7fs, 1'65, 1s), O McCluskey 1-2, A Grant 0-2, M McGuigan, J O'Dwyer 0-1.
Kildare - P Dermody 6; R Bergin 6, J Doran 6, C Gordon 6, S Gainey 6, M Moloney 7, P Divilly 7; P Ryan 7, N O'Muineachain 6; G Keegan 6, M Fitzgerald 8, J Byrne 8, T Brady 5, P Cocoman 7, E O'Hehir 5. Subs: M Grace 7 for Brady (h/t); D Flaherty 6 for O'Hehir (60); S Ryan 6 for Cocoman (69).
Derry - D McDermott 6; A Rafferty 5, S McCullagh 6, E McGuckian 6, M McGrath 6, P Kelly 6, B Quigley 6; A Grant 7, O McCluskey 7; T McCluskey 5, M McGuigan 6, G O'Kane 5, J O'Dwyer 6, R Convery 8, P Cleary 6. Subs: J McCullagh 6 for Kelly (40); S Quinn 6 for O'Kane (54); M Conway 6 for T McCluskey (67).
Ref - J Heffernan (Wexford).