Hurling & Camogie

Christy Ring Cup: Derry keep final hopes alive after win over Exiles

Oak Leafers still need results to go their way in final round of fixtures

Derry v London
Derry’s Cahal Murray and Meehaul McGrath with Conor Byrne, Tom Millerick and Padraig Muldoon of London during Saturday’s Christy Ring Cup match at Owenbeg. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )

Christy Ring Cup round four

Derry 2-22 London 2-13

A PLACE in next month’s final is not totally in Derry hands but Saturday’s win over London gives Johnny McGarvey’s side every chance.

Should they see off Sligo in the final round on Saturday and London turn over favourites Kildare, three teams will finish on eight points. Cue the calculators.

As it stands, Kildare (+67) have a better scoring difference than London (+40) and Derry (+26).

After defeat to Kildare, this was a must-win game for Derry and it took a 60th-minute goal from Christy McNaughton to put some daylight between the teams and a late Oisin O’Doherty save to break a stubborn London side.

By the time Paddy Kelly and Paul Cleary chipped in with scores, it put nine points between the sides, a margin that could prove crucial next weekend.

London registered 19 wides overall and it was a more clinical Derry who make the early strides with points from John Mullan, Ó Mianáin and Corey O’Reilly before London registered their first score in the eight minute.

The first momentum shift came in the 11th minute when star man Jack Goulding flicked a diagonal Reid ball to the net, with Dylan Dawson then pointing to give London a 1-2 to 0-4 lead.

Derry’s short game was beginning to invite pressure and London built on their goal.

It took a sweet O’Reilly sideline cut to provide Derry with an equaliser (1-5 each) after his crossfield strike was flicked in at the far post by Ó Mianáin.

Derry were left open to Sean Flynn’s run and his shot was too hot for ‘keeper O’Doherty and London were 2-6 to 1-6 ahead after 24 minutes.

Five Derry points over the remainder of the half turned the game with Ó Mianáin’s stoppage-time score giving the home side a slender 1-11 to 2-7 interval lead.

If Goulding was causing Derry bother in the first half, Kelly and Craig shut him down in the second half. Kelly’s interception led to an O’Doherty point after he breathtakingly flicked the ball behind himself to dummy a London defender.

Derry continued to defend strongly but they were not able to put London away. The Exiles would peg it back to a point on a number of occasions until Derry struck for their second goal.

O’Reilly decided against taking a simple point before squaring to McNaughton, who arrowed his shot to the bottom corner for a 2-16 to 2-11 lead.

O’Doherty denied Cathal O’Carroll a goal that would have brought London back to within two points before Derry pulled away.

Derry: O O’Doherty; P Kelly (0-1), M Craig, N Farren; S Cassidy, R Mullan, J Friel (0-1); C O’Kane, M McGrath (0-1); D McGilligan (0-3), C O’Doherty (0-7, 0-4 frees, 1 65), C O’Reilly (0-3); J Mullan (0-1), C McNaughton (1-1), R Ó Mianáin (1-3)

Subs: C Murray for C O’Kane (58), SF Quinn for N Farren (64), P Cleary (0-1) for J Mullan (67), D Mooney for M McGrath (69), S Kelly for R Ó Mianáin (72)

Yellow cards: C O’Kane (54), C O’Reilly (57), J Friel (72)

London: T Wallace; P Muldoon, C Byrne, N Geoghegan; T Millerick, S O’Meara, C O’Carroll (0-1); A Cunney, R Murphy; O Sheil, S Glynn (1-0), K Reid; D Dawson (0-2), J Goulding (1-8, 0-3 frees, 0-1 65), R Crowley (0-1)

Subs: E McHugh for R Murphy (44), N Broderick for R Crowley (52), M Flannery for O Sheil (56), P Kennedy for D Dawson (56), R Lodge for S Glynn (64)

Yellow cards: R Murphy (30), A Cunney (50), D Dawson (56)

Referee: P Owens (Down)