| 8.3°C Belfast

Derry chief praises players’ know-how in nervy win over Donegal

Derry 3-22 Donegal 3-21


Cormac O'Doherty. Credit: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Cormac O'Doherty. Credit: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Cormac O'Doherty. Credit: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Derry produced their best performance of the season to defeat neighbours Donegal by a point at Ballinascreen.

Talisman Cormac O’Doherty top scored for the winners with 13 points, including a monster score right at the death to tilt the result in Derry’s favour.

The Oakleaf County’s first victory of the season leaves them needing to defeat or draw with Roscommon next weekend to avoid the relegation trapdoor.

“We had that game won three or four times,” said joint manager Cormac Donnelly after the narrowest of victories.

“But I suppose the most pleasing thing is we came back and we found a way how to win it. The players ground it out in the end against a good Donegal side.”

In a game that fizzed with big scores and breathless intensity, the home side ran in five up at the break leading 2-13 to 1-11.

The two evenly matched combatants traded score for score with a Ritchie Ryan brace pulling Donegal level at 0-7 after a quarter of an hour. But Derry then took some measure of control.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Slaughtneil men Sé McGuigan (on 16 minutes) and Brian Cassidy, 10 minutes later scored sizzling goals to stretch their side ahead by nine points.

However, a late half Ronan McDermott goal and two Declan Coulter frees reduced Donegal’s deficit to just five at half-time.

A Ciaran Matthewson goal soon after the restart made it a one-point game as Donegal refused to wilt.

John Mullan and Greg Gilmore traded green flags soon after as both sides wrestled for control.

A Gerald Bradley point edged Derry ahead 3-20 to 3-18 in the home straight before two more Coulter frees pulled the protagonists level after 70 minutes of high class hurling.

But with the clock in the red, Cormac O’Doherty converted a trademark colossal free to snatch victory for Derry who next welcome Roscommon to Celtic Park.

Scorers, Derry: C O’Doherty 0-13 (10f, 1 ‘65’), B Cassidy 1-2, S McGuigan 1-1, J Mullan 1-1, R Mullan 0-3, G Bradley and O McKeever 0-1 each.

Donegal: D Coulter 0-10 (2 ‘65’, 7f), C Matthewson 1-4, R McDermott 1-2, G Gilmore 1-1, R Ryan 0-2, C O’Grady and D Cullen 0-1 each.

Top Videos