Hurling & Camogie

Derry fall to another Christy Ring Cup defeat

A fourth final loss for the Oak Leaf men as Kildare prove too good at Croke Park

Cormac O’Doherty
Cormac O’Doherty scored 1-11 for Derry (Margaret McLaughlin Photography )

Christy Ring Cup final Kildare 4-21 Derry 1-22

DERRY suffered familiar Christy Ring Cup final heartbreak as they returned empty-handed from their fourth visit to the decider, their third in the last four years.

Kildare were strong and athletic, having clearly benefited from their recent Joe McDonagh Cup experience. Crucially, they were able to pull a goal out of the hat whenever Derry seemed to be getting close, but Oak Leaf manager Johnny McGarvey felt the scoreline failed to reflect the closeness of the exchanges.

“I thought our boys hurled well,” he said. “We conceded goals at crucial times just when we thought we were back in it a couple of times, next thing we get hit with a sucker punch at the back. The worst of it I thought we defended reasonably well.”

Kildare had a flying start with Muiris Curtin’s goal after three minutes and were it not for the Lilywhites’ profligacy in those early exchanges, Derry might have been in serious trouble. But they got the bit between their teeth after that as Kildare continued to struggle to convert chances.

With John Mullan in sparkling form inside, finishing the game with six points, and Cormac O’Doherty almost flawless from frees, Derry were only a point behind, 1-7 to 0-9, by the 22nd minute.

But full-back Mark Craig was adjudged to have fouled the towering James Burke three minutes before half-time and Jack Sheridan made no mistake from the resultant penalty.

McGarvey felt that award was harsh, though he also admitted he didn’t see a foul when Derry were awarded a later penalty.

“The penalty I thought was two men fighting for a ball, two big strong men, a full-back and a full-forward fighting for a ball and next thing it’s a penalty against us at a crucial stage,” said McGarvey.

Kildare stretched the lead to eight but two points before the break kept Derry in range, going in 2-12 to 0-12 in arrears.

Derry, who came back from 13 points behind to lose by just two to Meath in last year’s final, burst out of the blocks after the interval and five points in succession, four of them from the masterful O’Doherty, had their opponents on the rack somewhat with their lead down to a point.

But the Leinster side stopped the rot with two Sheridan frees before their third goal from David Qualter on 49 minutes saw them lead by six. McGarvey was not happy with that one standing either.

“I thought it was 100 per cent a foul on Meehaul McGrath,” he said. “That’s where, so often it happens, you think it’s a foul right in front of our dugout, a long ball in, it breaks, and they score the third goal.”

Derry kept plugging away. Jack Cassidy was an impressive second-half substitute for them, scoring two points, but they rued a hook on the impressive Mullan as he bore down on goal with 11 minutes left.

Kildare’s fourth goal sealed the win two minutes from time. Sheridan’s point-blank shot was well parried by Derry ‘keeper Oisin O’Doherty but Burke was on hand to sweep home the rebound from the ground.

Derry kept pushing for a goal and McKenna denied them a couple of times, they did get some reward three minutes into injury time when they were awarded their own penalty and

O’Doherty made no mistake to bring his tally to 1-11. McKenna saved from Richie Mullan, before going on to lift the Cup a few minutes later.

“At no stage did I think we were out of it,” said McGarvey. “Right until the death. So proud of them.”

Kildare P McKenna; D O’Meara, M Grace, C Shanahan; P Dolan (0-1), Conan Boran (0-1), R Boran; S Leacy (0-2), C McCabe (0-1); J Burke (1-2), J Sheridan (1-9, 0-8 frees, 1-0 penalty), D Guerin; M Curtin (1-0), Cian Boran (0-3), D Qualter (1-1).

Subs J Dolan for Guerin (45), D Flaherty (0-1) for Curtin (53), H Carroll for Shanahan (55), C Dowling for McCabe (62), M Delaney for Burke (70+1)

Derry O O’Doherty; P Kelly, M Craig, N Farren; S Cassidy, R Mullan (0-1), M McGrath; C O’Kane, C O’Reilly; D McGilligan (0-1), C O’Doherty (1-11, 0-9 frees, 1-0 penalty), C Murray; J Mullan (0-6), C McNaughton (0-1), R Ó Mianáin.

Subs J Cassidy (0-2) for McNaughton (42), SF Quinn for Farren (49), S Kelly for McNaughton (52), D Mooney for O’Reilly (61), J Friel for Murray (66).

Referee B Keon (Galway)