Tuesday 23 January 2018

Rogan hails Derry determination as McCloskey secures replay

Down 1-16 Derry 0-19

JUST when it appeared that Derry had planted one foot in the final, Down staged a late revival to force a draw at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

JUST when it appeared that Derry had planted one foot in the final, Down staged a late revival to force a draw at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

The Oak Leaf County had completely dominated most of the second half yesterday, racking up 11 unanswered points from the 41st to the 63rd minute. But they were reined in when Down reeled off four quick-fire points before substitute Tiernan McCloskey's last score for Derry deep into injury-time secured a replay.

"I thought we showed tremendous resolve after the break and with a little more luck we might have won," said Derry manager Ger Rogan.

Derry had opened brightly, hitting four early points before Down racked up 1-3 within five minutes without response. Daniel Toner joined Paul Braniff and Gareth Johnson in whipping over points as Down took control.

Derry were restricted to just two more points before the break, yet, just when it appeared that Down would build upon their comfortable 1-11 to 0-7 interval lead, Derry roared back to life.

However, Down's resilience manifested itself in the closing minutes when Braniff (2), John McCusker and Michael Turley landed points before McCloskey's last-gasp score sealed the draw.

Down coach Paul Flynn said:"You would have to say it was a rather soft free in the end that forced the draw but you have to take that," he said. "We left ourselves with a bit to do after allowing Derry to get so many unanswered scores in the second half."

Scorers – Down: P Braniff 0-7 (6fs), D Toner 1-1, D Hughes, P Sheehan 0-2 each, S Nicholson, G Johnson, J Coyle, M Turley 0-1 each. Derry: A Kelly 0-5, K Hinphey 0-4, T McCloskey 0-3 (2fs), O McCloskey, P Henry (1 '65') 0-2 each, A Grant, P Cleary, C Convery 0-1 each.

Down – S Keith; M Conlon, P Flynn, P Hughes; M Hughes, C Woods, M Ennis; D Hughes, C O'Prey; S Nicholson, P Braniff, P Sheehan; D Toner, G Johnson, J Coyle. Subs: F Conway for O'Prey (25), J McCusker for Coyle (48), K McGarry for K Hughes (54), M Turley for Sheehan (57).

Derry – D McDermott; D McCloskey, P Kelly, J McCloskey; R McCloskey, L Hinphey, M O'Hagan; O McCloskey, K Hinphey; B Rodgers, A Grant, P Henry; P Cleary, B Quigley, A Kelly. Subs: C Convery for Henry (h-t), T McCloskey for Quigley (40).

Ref – J Clarke (Cavan)

Irish Independent

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