James Kielt inspires Derry to devastating win in O'Fiaich Cup match
A blistering final quarter triggered by an infusion of experience from their substitutes bench paved the way for a comfortable Derry victory over Armagh in the O'Fiaich Cup at the Athletic Grounds last night.
Aaron Kerrigan proved a two-goal hero for the visitors while James Kielt and Cailean O'Boyle also brought their finishing skills into play.
By the sixth minute Derry had streaked into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead but with a quarter an hour gone they had been reined in at 0-5 each with skipper Brian Mallon and Aiden Forker prominent in the home team's robust response.
Emmet Bradley, Benny Heron and Ciaran McGoldrick were all on target, though, as the visitors again seized the initiative but Armagh's ability to break quickly out of defence saw them again gain parity of esteem at 0-8 each.
And the home side enjoyed a psychological advantage in the 22nd minute when Forker squeezed home a superb goal.
A brace of points from Mallon eased Armagh into a more comfortable position at 1-10 to 0-8 before the Oak Leaf side plundered points through Niall McFeeley and McGoldrick just before the break to leave the contest delicately poised.
But Derry quickly torpedoed any hopes of a home success when Bradley, O'Boyle, and Kerrigan plundered goals as the Armagh defence collapsed.
Indeed, Paul Grimley's side were held scoreless for the last 15 minutes and will hope to gain redemption in Sunday's final against the same opponents.
Armagh: P Rodgers; P Hughes, A Mallon, M Murray; C Rafferty (0-1), C Vernon (0-1), R Grugan; A Findon, P O'Neill; A Forker (1-2, 0-2 frees), B Mallon (0-3, 0-2 frees), O MacIomhair (0-3); C MacIomhair (0-1), K Carragher (0-1), N McConville (0-1).
Subs: M McNeice for Rodgers (half-time), K O'Rourke for McConville (half-time), R Tasker for C MacIomhair (all half-time), K Toner for Findon, C McKeever for Rafferty (49), S Forker for Carragher (49), C Rafferty for Mallon (50).
Derry: T Mallon; D Brown, M McShane, D McBride; M Craig, C Kielt, S L McGoldrick (0-1); N Holly, E Bradley (1-3); C McWilliams, N McFeely (0-1), B Heron (0-3); C McGoldrick (0-3), E McGuckin (0-1), J Kearney.
Subs: C Conway for Johnston (15 mins), K McKaigue for Brown, C O'Boyle (1-1) for E McGuckin (both half-time), J Kielt (0-3 all frees) for McFeeley (47), P Cassidy for Bradley (50), A Kerrigan (2-0) for McWilliams (50).
Referee: Paul Finnegan (Louth).