Tony Scullion regret as Derry salvage a draw against Meath
Derry 2-12 - Meath 2-12
An injury-time free from substitute Ryan Bell - with the last kick of the game - earned Derry a National Football League Division Two draw against Meath at Owenbeg.
The Oak Leafs had led by four points mid-way through the second-half, and looked to be cruising to victory. However, you write Meath off at your peril and Mick O'Dowd's side hit five consecutive scores to lead by one in injury-time.
With the clock almost up, Derry rallied one last time before Bell's point earned a share of the spoils. Derry assistant manager Tony Scullion rued a number of missed opportunities.
He said: "We were dominating the game, we were four up and I know Meath put up a strong challenge, but we should have been eight up at that stage. We missed numerous chances from frees and play. This game is cruel at the top and it will kick you when you don't take chances."
Scullion believes his side did, however, deserve something.
"We showed character in the last seconds of the game to win that free when Sean Leo (McGoldrick) set up Christopher (Bradley) who was brought down and we were glad to get that ball over the bar."
A brace of points from both Mark Lynch and James Kielt gave Derry a 0-4 to 0-2 lead in the 10th minute. Micky Newman then scored the first goal of the game for the Royals, pouncing on a long high ball to give his side a one-point advantage. Derry responded and Daniel Heavron scored their first goal when he dispatched his effort low and hard into Conor McHugh's net.
Again Meath replied and again it was a goal, this time Andrew Tormey giving his side a narrow 1-6 to 2-4 lead at half-time.
Back-to-back Benny Heron frees gave Derry a four-point cushion in the 57th minute but after that Meath dominated and three consecutive points from Dalton McDonagh and another from Tormey edged the Royals ahead with time almost up.
However, Derry showed immense character to battle back valiantly and when Christopher Bradley was hauled down close to the Meath goal, Bell assured a point for his side with the resulting free. Newman top scored in the game, finishing with 1-6 for Meath.
Derry scorers: James Kielt 0-4 (0-2f), Benny Heron 0-3 (0-2f), Daniel Heavron 1-0, Niall Loughlin 1-0, Mark Lynch 0-2 (0-1f), Christopher Bradley 0-2, Ryan Bell 0-1
Meath scorers: Micky Newman 1-6 (0-2f), Andrew Tormey 1-1, Dalton McDonagh 0-3, Sean Tobin 0-2 (0-1f).