London defeat leaves Derry hurlers facing Kildare relegation shoot-out

Derry and London players look on as Londons Oisin Gatley (7) holds on to possession during Sundays NHL Division game in Celtic Park. DER1116GS003
Derry and London players look on as Londons Oisin Gatley (7) holds on to possession during Sundays NHL Division game in Celtic Park. DER1116GS003

ALLIANz HURLING LEAGUE, DIV 2: Derry 0-13, London 0-16

Derry will head to Kildare next weekend for a ‘winner takes all head to head’ with the Lily Whites, Division 2 survival the prize for the victor after Tom McLean’s men lost out to London in Celtic Park on Sunday.

Derrys Paddy Kelly holds on to possession after catching a high ball during the NHL Division 2B game against London at Celtic Park on Sunday. DER1116GS005

Derrys Paddy Kelly holds on to possession after catching a high ball during the NHL Division 2B game against London at Celtic Park on Sunday. DER1116GS005

The Oak Leafers cannot have too many complaints about the outcome as their finishing was poor over the course of the game, failing to score from open play in the first half.

With the aid of the tricky breeze, the visitors to Celtic Park picked off some fine scores to complement the four frees landed by Kevin O’Loughlin as they took a 0-10 to 0-5 lead to the break, the Londoners half-forward trio O’Dwyer, Reid (2) and Duggan all on target, as were Damien Browne and Chris McAlinden.

Yet London manager Fergus McMahon was not entirely happy with his side’s first half display, especially the number of yellow cards his side racked up.

“We were very happy with the result, especially with the second half display,” explained O’Loughlin.

I’m confident enough that, with a good week’s work behind us, we’ll go down to Kildare next weekend and give it one helluva effort to stay in Division 2

Derry manager Tom McLean

“In the first half we were maybe worrying more about what was happening around us than our own performance but we spoke about that at half time and addressed the problems.

“We had a couple of goal chances in the second that we did not take, that might have made us breathe a bit easier, but matches against Derry are never easy, so we’re happy with the result that.”

Derry started the second half well, points from Convery, Tiarnan McCloskey and Jonathan O’Dwyer giving rise to the belief that they might avoid a fourth successive defeat.

But points from substitute Michael Murphy after a storming run and O’Loughlin from distance arrested the comeback.

Londons Damien Browne comes under pressure from Derrys Gareth OKane during Sundays NHL Division game in Celtic Park. DER1116GS002

Londons Damien Browne comes under pressure from Derrys Gareth OKane during Sundays NHL Division game in Celtic Park. DER1116GS002

However three converted frees from Alan Grant cut the lead to 0-14 to 0-12 with five minutes remaining.

Just when danger threatened again London raised their game and O’Loughlin, from a free, and Duggan eased the pressure and condemned Derry to yet another defeat.

Derry manager Tom McLean was very disappointed with the result, especially as the fixture would have been one of the games that Derry would have targeted for two points.

“Scoring 13 points in a game of hurling, you are not going to win too many matches,” conceded McLean.

Derry scored just five points in the first half, all from frees, with just five of their final tally from open play, the manager flagging up the number of wides Derry recorded.

However he was reluctant to voice any criticism of his players stating, “This is where Derry are at. With the squad of players that we have, the players are working just as hard as any other year but the results are just not coming up for us. There is nothing that we can do other than work away. The fellas are giving their best every day they go out. Sometimes when you get into a rut it is hard to get out of it.

“But I’m confident enough that, with a good week’s work behind us, we’ll go down to Kildare next weekend and give it one helluva effort to stay in Division 2, It’s a shoot out next week and winner takes all.”

Derry: D McDermott; S McCullagh, P Kelly, E McGuckin; M McGrath, O McCloskey, A Rafferty; T McCloskey 0-2, B Quigley; J O’Dwyer 0-1, P Cleary, A Grant 0-4 (4f); G O’Kane, R Convery 0-6 (1f), M McGuigan Subs: SF Quinn for G O’Kane 55mins; M Conway for M McGuigan 58mins; T Magee for P Cleary 58mins.

Yellow Cards: R Convery 23mins.

London: E Kelly; T Lawrence, L Guale, C McAlinden 0-1; C Hickey, B Regan, O Gately; N McDonnell, D Browne 0-1; M O’Dwyer 0-1, K Reid 0-2, M Duggan 0-3; K O’Loughln 0-5 (5f), B Walsh, M Murphy. Subs: S Bardon for K Reid, 48mins; D Roberts for D Browne 62mins; M Murphy 0-1 for B Walsh 64mins.

Yellow Cards: B Walsh 25mins; L Guale 30mins; M Duggan 32mins; D Browne 36mins.

Referee: John Keane (Galway)