Allianz NFL Round 5
Derry 1-11 Dublin 0-13
By Michael McMullan
A LAST gasp Brendan Rogers point kicked Derry victory in a pulsating finish against Dublin at a packed Celtic Park on Saturday night.
The Oakleafers, who trailed by six points early in the second half, are now nine games unbeaten since last year’s All-Ireland semi-final and take another step towards promotion to the top flight.
The introduction of Gareth McKinless at half-time made a huge impact with the Ballinderry man taking on the Dublin defence in the build-up to Niall Toner’s game-changing goal.
There were also points from substitutes Oisin McWilliams and Lachlan Murray with Shea Downey winning late free as the impact of Derry’s bench made a telling impact in a gripping finale.
Cormac Costello had the ball over the bar early on before Paul Cassidy levelled matters with the first of his two scores in the game.
Derry went 11 minutes without a score and registered four wides as Dublin took control of the game.
Costello, Brian Fenton (2) and Lee Gannon hit points before Shane McGuigan made the score 0-6 to 0-2.
Derry had a goal chance to get back in the game in the 20th minute. Conor Glass fed Niall Loughlin over the top but he drove at goalkeeper O’Hanlon.
The visitors led 0-7 to 0-2 at the break before Tom Lahiff fisted them further ahead early in the second half.
Ethan Doherty curled over a fine score before Niall Loughlin gave Derry chance to edge their way back into contention with a free.
Then came Derry’s vital goal. Gareth McKinless cut inside before spooning the ball across to Loughlin who spilled the ball under the pressure of Michael Fitzsimons’ tackle before Toner slotted home at the far post.
Derry struggled to get back level as Ciaran Kilkenny tagged on points before the home side began to get a grip with their substitutes adding to the mix.
Murray lofted over to give Derry the lead for the first time in the 69th minute.
A Costello tied the game again. McGuigan spurned a chance with what looked like the last roll of the dice before Rogers’s winner.
Derry: Niall Toner 1-0, Shane McGuigan 0-3f, Paul Cassidy 0-2, Niall Loughlin 0-1f, Lachlan Murray 0-1, Oisin McWilliams 0-1, Conor Doherty 0-1, Ethan Doherty 0-1 and Brendan Rogers 0-1
Dublin: Cormac Costello 0-3, (2f), Ciaran Kilkenny 0-2, Brian Fenton 0-2, Lee Gannon 0-2, Con O’Callaghan 0-1, Colm Basquel 0-1, Tom Lahiff 0-1 and John Small 0-1
Derry: Odhran Lynch; Chrissy McKaigue, Eoin McEvoy, Conor McCluskey; Conor Doherty, Paudi McGrogan, Padraig Cassidy; Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers, Niall Toner, Paul Cassidy, Ethan Doherty; Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin
Subs: Gareth McKinless for E Doherty (Blood sub 35+1, Revered HT), Gareth McKinless for Padraig Cassidy (HT), Oisin McWilliams for B Heron (50), Lachlan Murray for N Toner (60), Shea Downey for E McEvoy (66), Niall Toner for N Loughlin (74)
Yellow card: G McKinless (46)
Dublin: David O’Hanlon; Daire Newcombe, Michael Fitzsimons, Lee Gannon; John Small, Eoin Murchan, David Byrne; Brian Fenton, James McCarthy, Tom Lahiff, Con O’Callaghan, Ciaran Kilkenny; Cormac Costello, Dean Rock, Lorcan O’Dell
Subs: Niall Scully for L O’Dell (43), Colm Basquel for T Lahiff (53), Sean Lowry for D Rock (58), Brian Howard for J McCarthy (64)
Yellow cards: T Lahiff (46), M Fitzsimons (60, 74)
Red card: M Fitzsimons (74)
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)