O'Doherty's points fire Derry over line
Cormac O'Doherty certainly hit the headlines with Slaughtneil over the course of recent seasons but right now the talented forward is at the nerve centre of the Derry hurling team's concerted drive to gain promotion from Division 2B of the Allianz League.
O'Doherty turned in another inspirational performance when he masterminded the Oak Leaf team's 0-21 to 1-16 win over Kildare at St Conleth's Park, Newbridge which extends their unbeaten record and enhances their prospects of taking the big step up.
In amassing a shoal of points, O'Doherty managed to keep Derry's noses in front for the greater part of the second-half after they had trailed by 1-7 to 0-9 at the interval but it was his last two points in injury-time that helped to shepherd his side over the line.
John McEvoy, the former Dublin U21 manager who is in his first season as Derry boss having succeeded Collie McGurk, can take considerable progress from his team's performances and with pointless Warwickshire next up there is the distinct possibility that his side could extend their unbeaten sequence - particularly if the accurate O'Doherty remains on fire.
Down, too, are on the promotion trail in the same division and their comfortable 1-16 to 0-11 win over Warwickshire at Pairc na hEireann, Birmingham was highlighted by 0-5 from Paul Sheehan and 1-2 from Oisin McManus with Conor O'Prey and Ronan Costello also making useful contributions.
The Mourne county lost to Derry in their opening game but since then they have shown an improvement although they cannot afford any more slip-ups.
Donegal, however, found the going tough against Wicklow and succumbed by 2-14 to 0-15. Donegal were chasing the game for the most part and although they battled hard, Wicklow always looked to have a physical edge.
In Division 3A, Tyrone suffered a rather unexpected reversal when they fell to Monaghan by 4-12 to 2-13. Mark Treanor's two goals underpinned Monaghan's 2-7 total at half-time but Tyrone equalled that score with 1-10 their goal coming from Brian McGurk.
Stephen Lambe for Monaghan and Tyrone's Damian Casey traded goals after the break before Monaghan pulled away.
Armagh took a tumble when Roscommon proved a superior force at the Athletic Grounds where they won by 0-18 to 1-11.
The orchard county had hoped to benefit from home advantage but the Connacht side produced a strong finishing burst to maintain their promotion push.
Armagh boss Padraig O'Connor believes it may take a little time for new players to settle into his side.