McGuckin pounces late to give Oak Leafs a timely lift
Derry 1-18 Kildare1-17
Derry lifted themselves off the foot of the Division Two table after an Emmett McGuckin goal deep in injury time snatched a dramatic one point win over Kildare at Celtic Park.
In a wonderfully open contest, which swayed one way and the next, the Lilywhites looked set to extend their lead at the top of the table when Fergal Conway's fisted point in the 70th minute handed his side a two-point advantage.
However, Damian Barton's men rallied one last time and when Ryan Bell's shot was only parried by Kildare keeper Mark Donnellan, McGuckin was Derry's fox in the box to jab the ball into the back of the net to herald the Oak Leafer's first win of the campaign.
But for four successive wides to end the half, Kildare would have been in a much happier position than their still healthy 1-10 to 0-8 lead at the break.
Chris Healy marked his first senior start for the Lilywhites with the only goal of the first 35 minutes, clinically finishing after Neil Flynn's quick thinking caught the Derry rearguard napping.
With as many as nine players all working the scoreboard in the first half alone, Kildare looked the side the most likely with Neil Flynn, Niall Kelly and Dan Flynn all finding their range.
But opponents Derry came roaring out for the second half and their eight consecutive points on the restart, most of them from the left foot of James Kielt, laid the foundations for a sterling come-back win.
Asked if he thought the win, and Derry's come from behind performance, was the perfect answer to some of the criticism levelled their way after the capitulation against Meath last time out, Derry assistant boss Brian McGuckin was emphatic.
"Yes, it was. I thought we played some good football," he said. "We played reasonably well in the first half but we were disappointed with the goal that went in. We got off to a scintillating start to the second half. I think we scored seven points in nine minutes. That gave us a fantastic foothold.
"We deserved that bit of luck at the end. It's been luck that's been evading us this season."
Derry host mid-table rivals Down next weekend with only three points separating the top and bottom counties in what looks to be a closely contested Division Two this season.
Derry: James Kielt 0-9 (0-5f), Emmett McGuckin 1-1, Carlus McWilliams 0-3, Niall Loughlin 0-2, Enda Lynn 0-1, Conor McAtamney 0-1, Danny Tallon 0-1
Kildare: Neil Flynn 0-5, Dan Flynn 0-3, Niall Kelly 0-3, Chris Healy 1-0, Fergal Conway 0-2, Tomas Moolick 0-1, Kevin Feely 0-1, Johnny Byrne 0-1, Keith Cribbin 0-1.