DERRY Hurling manager Ger Rogan has praised his new look squad after they came within seconds of a winning National League Division 2A start against Wicklow in Aughrim on Sunday.
With Derry leading by a point, Wicklow’s Bosco O’Neill opted for safety and fired over the bar from a controversial 72nd minute penalty to ensure a share of the spoils from a game Derry will feel they should have won.
Derry starter brighter in the opening ten minutes with Share Farren’s goal adding to the Oak Leafers opening two points. The teams traded points as the home 15 grew into the half and eventually led at the interval by 0-9 to Derry’s 1-5.
The Oak Leaf County hit an unanswered 0-3 on the restart to lead again with Banagher’s Farren to the fore in every attack. Wicklow rallied though Derry looked to have grabbed the points before O’Neill’s dramatic late interception.
Despite his disappointment, Rogan was proud of his team’s efforts as Farren finished with 1-04.
“The young lads did very well,” admitted Rogan, “This is a very new looking panel. You’ve a lot of fellas in there who are only 18 or 19. Shane Farren was superb and John McCloskey, Charles Gilmore, and Michael Warnock who were making their first starts.
“We also had lads like Sean McGuigan and Chrissy Convery who were involved. To go to a place like Wicklow and get a result with so many new players was a great display. We played Wicklow three times last year and lost them all. This is a great bunch of lads they are representing their county brilliantly both on and off the field,”
The Antrim native conceded that with a bit more luck on certain decisions his side could have come away with the victory.
“I suppose it’s a bit of a mixed feeling. We’d missed a couple of chances before they got the penalty. If we’d been two points up they might have went for the goal and we could have been coming back up the road having played well but with nothing to show for it.
“A point is not a bad result but we should have won it. You have to be careful with what you say about referees but I thought there were a few hard calls against us. I thought the penalty was a very hard decision and I think Wicklow were just happy to get out of the game with something because they knew they’d been outplayed.
“They scored 14 points but only three points from play and the best I could say was that some of them were contentious but, as I said, we could have been coming back up the road empty handed so I’m not too unhappy.”
Derry: Oisin Doherty, John McCloskey, Ruairi McCloskey, Leigh Hawkins, Michael Warnock, Aaron McCloskey, L Hinphey, Oisin McCloskey (0-1), Darragh McCloskey, Ruairi Convery (0-5), Jarlath Mulholland, Alan Grant; Shane Farren (1-4), Patrick McCloskey (0-1), Charles Gilmore.