Kildare 0-11 Derry 0-13: Six points from Conleth Gilligan propelled Derry to their second win in Division 2 against Kildare.
Impressive throughout, Gilligan hit two points from play as well as three frees and a 45 to send Derry home happy from Newbridge.
Were it not for a slow start, taking 20 minutes to open their account, this would have been a much more comfortable win for John Brennan’s (right) side.
Declan Mullan had a glorious goal chance after just 33 seconds but he blazed wide from 10 yards having been put clean through by some slack Kildare defending.
The home side went in front in the fifth minute when midfielder Padraig O’Neill completed a sweeping move that started in the Kildare full-back line and by the 15th minute it was 0-3 to no score, courtesy of two John Doyle frees. Once Paddy Bradley got Derry going in the 20th minute from a free, the Ulstermen took control. Scoring six more points before the break, including three from Gilligan, they moved into a 0-7 to 0-6 lead at the interval.
Quickly out after the resumption, the Lilies wasted no time to hit the equaliser when John Doyle converted a free.
Doyle scored again a minute later to reclaim the lead but it was the last time Kieran McGeeney’s side held that position.
A trio of Derry scores in succession from dashing centre-forward Sean Leo McGoldrick and Gilligan (two) made it 0-10 to 0-8 midway through the second half.
Doyle again pointed, the only Kildare score for 24 minutes of the second half as the breeze strengthened against them, while Derry proved effective on the counter-attack. They racked up three more points by the 62nd minute through Bradley, Gilligan and Mark Lynch.
With the game slipping away, Kildare flooded forward but too often they turned the ball over cheaply.
Six second half wides didn’t help their cause either, although late points from Doyle and Alan Smith gave them a fighting chance in the dying stages. Mick Foley fisted the ball narrowly wide in the last play of the game but the points rested where they belonged and Derry headed home with a perfect start to the league — in the process ending Kildare’s perfect run through the season since January.
KILDARE: S Connolly, H McGrillen, M Foley, T O’Neill, D Whyte, E Callaghan, E Bolton, H Lynch, P O’Neill 0-1, B Flanagan, K Cribbin, E O’Flaherty, F Dowling 0-2, J Doyle 0-7 (4fs), A Smith 0-1. Subs: R Sweeney for Whyte, h/t; A Mac Lochlainn for O’Neill, h/t; J Kavanagh for O’Flaherty, 57.
DERRY: M Conlon, B McCallion, K McCloy, D McBride, M Drumm, B McGoldrick, G O’Kane, PJ McCloskey, N Holly, D Mullan, S L McGoldrick 0-2, M Lynch 0-1, C McGoldrick, P Bradley 0-3 (2fs), C Gilligan 0-6 (3fs, 1 45). Subs: J Kielt 0-1 for Mullan, 18; Charlie Kielt for Drumm, 38; C O’Boyle for C McGoldrick, 64; E McGuckian for Lynch, 64; J O’Kane for McCloy, 68.
Referee: S Doyle (Wexford)