Derry off to a winning start in Christy Ring Cup campaign

Derry Meehaul McGrath with Brian Kearney of Wicklow during the Christy Ring Cup match at Celtic Park  Picture: Margaret McLaughlin.

Christy Ring Cup: Derry 1-21 Wicklow 1-9

DERRY got their Christy Ring campaign off to a winning start with a win over Wicklow that was more about the result than the performance.

Dominic McKinley and Cormac Donnelly’s men came in off the back of their promotion-sealing win last weekend in the Division 2B final meeting with Sligo and, while comfortable throughout the 70 minutes at Celtic Park yesterday, McKinley acknowledged that his side will have to put in much-improved performances as their campaign progresses.

“It was comfortable. It probably wasn’t the most fluent performance, but they did their job. We’re always disappointed, both the players and ourselves, afterwards because we expect better,” he explained.

“We had certain targets to reach and we didn’t reach them today but, at the end of the day, it’s a result in the Christy Ring, it’s a championship game, and it’s gives us two points. We’ll bank them and move on to next week. We’ll leave that behind and improve on the things that we should.”

Brandon Ryan led the scoring charts for the visitors, and he got the first point of the game with a well-taken strike after three minutes – their only effort from play in the first period.

Kevin Lynch’s target man Odhran McKeever levelled for the Oak Leafs before John Doyle converted a free from 20 metres out to put Eamonn Scallan’s men back in front.

Wicklow goalkeeper Robert Fitzgerald did well to save from Brian Óg McGilligan in the game’s first goal chance.

Richie Mullan levelled matters on nine minutes, quickly followed by Meehaul McGrath edging Derry ahead for the first time with a shot from 35 metres.

An impressive Ciaran Hendry point and a Cormac O’Doherty ’65 – after Mullan had missed a decent goal opportunity – had Derry in a 0-5 to 0-2 lead.

McKeever and O’Doherty (free) extended the gap before Ryan pinged over a settler for the visitors to end their 15 minute scoreless spell.

Ryan (2), O’Doherty and substitute Owen Young all hit frees as the half ticked down, with Hendry having the final scoring say of the first period as he slotted his second of the day to leave Derry with a four-point cushion at the break – 0-10 to 0-6.

The home side took advantage of the wind from the start in the second period as scores from Brian Óg McGilligan, John Mullan, McKeever and O’Doherty had them 0-14 to 0-6 up after 43 minutes.

Substitute Michael Lynch, from the Na Magha club in Derry city, raised a white flag with his first touch, which was followed by scores from McKeever and O’Doherty – his first from play.

Wicklow got a glimmer of hope on 50 minutes when Owen Young fired through the legs of Oisin O’Doherty to the net, followed up by a Doyle point, but Fintan Bradley goaled at the other end to kill any momentum, with Lynch tagging on another point.

A Young score was answered by John Mullan and Bradley points, with McGilligan and Doyle exchanging scores in the final moments.


DERRY: O O’Doherty; C Hendry (0-2), G Farren, D McCloskey; M McGrath (0-1), C Kelly, P Kelly; C O’Doherty (0-6, 0-4 frees, 1 ’65), D McGilligan; J Mullan (0-2), F Bradley (1-1), B Óg McGilligan (0-2); R Mulholland, O McKeever (0-4), R Mullan (0-1).

SUBS: M Lynch (0-2) for G Farren (43), B Laverty for D McGilligan (53), P Nelis for M McGrath (64), L Campbell for O McKeever (66), T McHugh for R Mullan (70).


WICKLOW: R Fitzgerald; D Byrne, B Kearney, T Collins; J Byrne, M O’Brien, B Ryan (0-4, 0-3 frees); M Murphy, J McCall; A Byrne, J Doyle (0-3, 0-2 frees), J Toomey; T Mulconry, E Kavanagh, E McCormack (1-0).

SUBS: O Young (0-2 frees) for T Mulconry (24), E Byrne for M Murphy (66).


YELLOW CARD: J Toomey (21)

REFEREE: J Clarke (Cavan)

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