Shock loss to Roscommon sets up crucial Down clash for Derry
Christy Ring Cup Round One: Roscommon 2-20 Derry 0-15
DERRY hurlers are set for a crunch showdown with Down after suffering a surprise 11-point loss to Roscommon in the first-round of the Christy Ring Cup last Saturday.
Derry went all the way to the Christy Ring Cup final last year but hopes of a repeat performance have been dented by the loss of over 10 of last season’s panel.
The Oak Leaf County can’t have any complaints after this defeat. While Roscommon’s two goals came in the closing stages of the match, the home team had earlier spurned a series of goal chances.
Derry’s tally of 13 wides proved costly and a vast improvement is needed before they play Down in Round 2B next weekend. The winner of that match will move onto the quarter-finals but the loser faces a relegation play-off.
This win guarantees Roscommon’s survival in the Christy Ring Cup for another season although they have been handed the most difficult draw possible in Round 2A away to Antrim.
Derry manager Tom McLean didn’t try to hide his frustration afterwards.
“To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. Everybody knows the number of players we’ve lost but Roscommon looked to be up for the game more, they had great fire in their bellies.
“When a team gets a run on you like that, it’s hard to claw them back. We pushed up in the closing stages and lost a couple of goals. It was probably in our heads that we hadn’t won a game all year. Every game we play now is a crucial game. We have to try to win next Saturday and, if we win that game, we’re back in a quarter-final,” he said.
Roscommon looked sharp and hungry from the first minute and Cillian Egan gave notice of their intent with a point after just 20 seconds.
Jerry Fallon added a second point before Swatragh’s Ruairi Convery got Derry off the mark from a free on his own 65. However, Fallon reeled off three unanswered points between the fifth and seventh minutes.
Corner-forward Shane Farnan of Banagher responded with two rapid-fire points of his own from play while Adrian Murphy sent over a Roscommon point after 15 minutes.
Convery replied from a 35-metre free and while Fallon lofted over a marvellous score from a sideline cut, points from Alan Grant and Convery pared the deficit to just one point by the 21st minute.
Points from Thomas Fetherston and Cathal Dolan were cancelled out by well-taken scores from Brendan Quigley and Tiarnan McCloskey. Both teams wasted good chances before Fallon slotted two late frees to leave the home team leading by 0-11 to 0-8 at half-time.
A backlash was expected from Derry at the start of the second-half, but instead it was Roscommon who burst from the traps.
Fetherston produced a stinging shot which Conor Quinn deflected over the bar. Points from Fetherston and Tomás Seale stretched the lead to five after 41 minutes.
Scores from Convery and Quigley kept Derry in touch while Quinn kept the Oak Leaf County in the match in the 45th minute when he blocked a piledriver from O’Meara.
Convery converted frees in the 48th and 54th minutes but an inspirational long-range score from wing-back Alan Moore eased Roscommon nerves.
Alan Grant and Mark McGuignan then exchanged points with Eamonn Flanagan and Naos Connaughton.
Even the sending-off of Fallon didn’t rattle Roscommon who closed out the match impressively. Sub Jamie Lawlor lashed the sliotar to the net from close range in the 64th minute for the clinching goal. Three minutes later Egan mis-hit a free but his shot took a deflection and looped into the top right corner of the net.
Roscommon: N Fallon; I Delaney, P Kellehan, L Kilcline; A Moore (0-1), M Kelly (0-1), J Kilkenny; E Flanagan, C Dolan (0-1); T Seale, T. Fetherston (0-3), J. Fallon (0-7, 0-4f, 0-1s); C. Egan (1-3, 1-2f), R. O’Meara, A. Murphy (0-1) Subs: J Lawlor (1-0) for Murphy (54); N Connaughton (0-1) for O’Meara (56); H Rooney for Seale (67); W Boyle for Flanagan (71) Yellow card: T. Seale (10), J. Fallon (35), N. Connaughton (59), C. Egan (60). Red card: J. Fallon (63)
Derry: C Quinn; S McCullagh, C McSorley, E McGuckian; P Cleary, O McCloskey, D O’Neill; T McCloskey (0-1), B Quigley (0-2); B Og McGilligan, M McGuigan (0-1), G O’Kane; S Farren (0-2), R. Convery (0-7, 0-6f), A. Grant (0-2). Subs: J. McCullagh for Quigley (47), D Foley for McGilligan (47), SF Quinn for McGuckian (51), B Douban for O’Kane (61) Yellow card: McGuckian (35 mins), McSorley (71 mins).
Referee: John Keane (Galway).