Derry 0-19 Louth 1-16
Derry boss John Brennan was left to bemoan his side’s lack of composure after they allowed Louth to come from four points down and claim a draw at Celtic Park yesterday.
The result leaves the Oak Leafers needing to get a win against Westmeath in a fortnight’s time to be sure of their place in Division Two for next season.
“We had enough possession and to have gone four points up with a few minutes left we should have been able to play that out,” said Brennan.
“But there were a couple of rash decisions by one or two Derry players that cost us,” he said.
Brennan also felt that a late point from Jim McEneaney had actually gone wide of the upright.
“We should have been cute enough to hold the ball but there were a couple of decisions there which were major turning points and to award that point was not right. To award something that was wide is not right.”
Derry were also hit by the loss of midfielder Michael Friel to injury six minutes from the end.
“That was a big turning point. Michael Friel is a wonderful player — he turned things for us in the second half. He was winning ball that he had no right to win,” said Brennan.
Brennan is confident, though, that Derry can get the job done against the Lake County men in the final round of the league.
“We’re still in a battle and we are well used to that,” he said.
“We are well capable of going down to Westmeath and getting a result which it looks like we’ll have to do now.”
Louth's scoring machine Darren Clarke kicked the injury time equaliser to earn his side what had looked a very unlikely point only minutes earlier.
When the superb Paddy Bradley kicked his seventh point as the match ticked over into injury time, Derry led by two.
However sub Brian White pulled one back for the Wee County to set-up Clarke’s rescue act from the final attack of the match.
Both defences had struggled throughout with the scores coming thick and fast.
With 10 minutes on the clock Derry led by 0-5 to 1-1 with Clarke grabbing the goal.
By half time the scores were level at 0-11 to 1-8.
With the breeze at their back Louth started the second half well, Clarke scoring twice and Ronan Carroll pointing to move into a |1-11 to 0-12 lead.
However six unanswered points by Derry, including four from Bradley, looked to have put the hosts in control at 0-18 to 1-12 with time running out.
However, Derry lost control after the excellent Friel went off injured and points from Ray Finnegan, a Clarke free and that debated point from McEneaney brought Louth to within a point and they went on to secure a draw.
Derry: B Gillis; B McCallion, C McKaigue, A McAlynn; C Kielt (0-1), M Drumm, SL McGoldrick (0-1); M Friel, PJ McCloskey; N Forrester, C Gilligan (0-6, 5f), B Gormley (0-1); E Brown (0-2), P Bradley (0-7, 2f), Enda Lynn (0-1). Subs: Patsy Bradley for Forester (25), E Scullion for McAlynn (ht), C O’Boyle for McCloskey (57), J Diver for Friel (62) R Scott for M Drumm (65).
Louth: N Gallagher; P Rath, D Finnegan, R Finnegan; D Byrne, J Carr (0-1), L Shevlin; B Donnelly, R Carroll (0-1); D Crilly, M Brennan, A Reid (0-1); D Maguire (0-1), J McEneaney (0-3), D Clarke (1-7, 4f 45). Subs: J Califf for Donnelly (25), A McDonnell for Crilly (54), S Fitzpatrick for Rath (54), B White (0-1) for Reid (54) A Hoey (0-1) for Califf (64).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).