Derry came to Dr Cullen Park as favourites to dispatch minnows Carlow easily, but for spells in the first half the Barrowsiders suggested that they might cause problems for the visitors.
Derry raced into a 0-4 to 0-01 lead after 10 minutes but then Mark Carpenter scored the first of Carlow’s two goals. Again Derry took control to lead 0-07 to 1-01 but the home side came back strongly in the second quarter to tie the scores before Eoin Bradley scored a marvellous goal. “This was always going to be a difficult game and that’s not a cliché,” said Derry manger Damian Cassidy.
“People have said that we should go down to Carlow and win easily and, in many ways in the second half we were very comfortable.”
Derry did take a slender 1-08 to 1-07 lead to half-time but, with Bradley scoring freely, Enda Muldoon in sublime form at midfield and Cathal McKeever superb at wing forward Derry forged 1-12 to 1-07 ahead 10 minutes into the second half.
Ten minutes from time Carlow full forward Daniel St Ledger scored a second goal to cut the lead to three points. But it wasn’t enough as Derry stormed home.
Carlow: J Clarke; P Murphy, S Redmond, B Kavanagh; T Bolger, J Hayden, A Curran; T Walsh, D Foley; A Kelly, M Carpenter (1-1), S Gannon (0-1); S Rea (0-3, 0-2 frees), D St Ledger (1-4, 0-3 frees), J J Smith. Subs: P Cashin for Murphy(40); J Murphy for Foley (45); P Broderick for Rea (injured) (51); K Nolan for Bolger (55); J. Kavanagh for Carpenter (66).
Derry: B Gillis; B Og McAlary, G O’Kane, D McBride; M Craig (0-1), B McGoldrick, C Kielt; J Diver, J Kielt (0-3, all frees); C McKeever (0-1), M Lynch (0-4, all frees), E McGuckian (0-1); E Bradley (1-6, 0-3 frees), E Muldoon (0-1), R Wilkinson. Subs: D Mullen (0-1) for McGoldrick (h/t); M McGoldrick for Craig (h/t); F Doherty for Diver (50); R Convery for J Kielt (58).
Referee: M Condon (Waterford).