Conor Kelly's equaliser sends Derry into league final.
NHL DIVISION 2B
Derry will face Down in next week’s Division 2B hurling final after snatching a draw against Kildare in a thriller, thanks to an injury time point from Conor Kelly.
“Conor Kelly’s was a savage score and I’m not surprised because he’s a fine player. We’re delighted with him and with the whole team," said John McEvoy after the game.
Despite winning all of their four other league games, Derry went into the match knowing they had to avoid defeat if they wanted to reach the showpiece, given their inferior points difference to both Kildare and Down.
The first half was a tale of two marksmen as Jack Sheridan and Cormac O’Doherty dominated the scoring charts. Despite playing into the wind it was Kildare who were largely in control until the 24th minute when Ross Kelly was dismissed for an off-the-ball hit on Meehaul McGrath.
In the second half, Sean Cassidy won his battle with Sheridan – with the added protection of sweeper McGrath – to quell the threat, but each time the Oakleafers looked to pull away, their resilient opponents came back.
In fact, Sheridan thought he had booked the visitors’ place in the final with a late free, but with just seconds remaining Conor Kelly was the coolest and bravest man in Celtic Park to score the biggest point of Derry’s season so far.
DERRY: Sean Kelly, Paddy Kelly, Sean Cassidy, Darragh Cartin, Seán Ó Caiside, Brian Óg McGilligan, Conor Kelly (0-1), Paul Cleary (0-1), Meehaul McGrath, Jerome McGuigan, Cormac O’Doherty (1-10, 7f, 2 ’65), Thomas Brady, Eoghan Cassidy (0-1), Sé McGuigan (0-1), Richie Mullan.
SUBS: Darragh McCloskey for P Kelly (INJ 10), Odhran McKeever (1-1) for J McGuigan (HT), Steafan McCloskey (0-1) for T Brady (57), Alan Grant for R Mullan (63), Tiarnan McHugh for S McGuigan (71).
KILDARE: Paddy McKenna, Cian Forde, John Doran, Simon Leacy, Niall O’Muineachain, Ross Kelly, Rian Boran, Jack Travers, Paul Divilly, Cathal Dowling (0-1), Brian Byrne (1-2f), James Burke (0-1), Caolan Smith (0-2), Jack Sheridan (2-7, 6f, 1 ’65), Shane Ryan.
SUBS: Sean Christianseen for C Dowling (50), Conor Kielty for S Ryan (65).
REF: Kevin Brady (Louth).
ALSO READ - Mullan goal earns Derry opening day victory against Down. Click here...
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.