Derry boss remains upbeat over future despite heavy loss
Derry 2-15 Kildare 2-22
Derry manager Damian McErlain believes that despite his team's defeat on Saturday, the foundations for future Oak Leaf success are unquestionably solid.
Derry's eight-point loss at home brought a terminal conclusion to an annus horribilus which included relegation to Division Four and expulsion from the Ulster Championship in the opening round.
"We know there is loads of quality in Derry, particularly from 22 down right down to under-six," said McErlain.
"Everything is very strong; the structures are very strong. The clubs are working their socks off in the city and in the south Derry, and everything is positive.
"Over the past three or four years in Derry, the structural improvement has been massive, strategically and the support network in the background, well, I can't complain at all.
"Everything we wanted, we got but we are balancing a lot here, boys who are heavily committed to clubs, heavily committed to strong club campaigns, to hurling - that's the GAA in action and that's Derry in action and we have to operate with that.
"We are looking forward to kicking on because the county is in good shape all over the place so we have to regroup now and get ready to try and get ourselves out of Division Four."
Playing in the last chance saloon, Slaughtneil's Shane McGuigan opened the scoring for the home side, before Daniel Flynn and Fergal Conway edged Cian O'Neill's men into an early lead.
Derry hit the net in the sixth minute of the game, Sean Leo McGoldrick running at the heart of the Kildare defence before slipping the ball to Shane McGuigan to inflict the damage.
The Leinster men needed a response and they got just that - Fergal Conway pointing before Daniel Flynn scored a great finest individual goal, blasting into the roof of the net.
Further scores from Paul Cribben and gave his side a three-point lead before Padraig Cassidy's darting run created space for Enda Lynn who showed real composure to tap into the net. However, it was Kildare who led at the break on a scoreline of 1-12 to 2-7.
Kildare hit an unanswered 1-2 soon after the restart, culminating in Kevin Feely's through ball finding Niall Kelly who decisively fired home. The goal gave Kildare a 2-15 to 2-8 lead and the perfect cushion for the remainder of the game.
Veteran Mark Lynch received a late red card as Derry's season came to an early end.
"We are very disappointed" continued McErlain. "The boys gave 100%. We were decent going forward but probably a bit naive at the back. We were far too porous right from the top, right down the field. That's where we are and we're still learning."