| 9.6°C Belfast

McIver relieved as his boys fight back


Armagh's James Lavery tries to block PJ McCloskey

Armagh's James Lavery tries to block PJ McCloskey

©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty

Armagh's James Lavery tries to block PJ McCloskey

Neither team was complaining much after Saturday night saw the spoils of Division Two's sole Ulster derby shared.

Derry and Armagh played out a thrilling encounter at a wet Celtic Park that was in remarkably good condition, and it was probably Oak Leaf manager Brian McIver who was happiest having seen his side fight back from four down twice over the 70 minutes.

"I'd say that at different stages both sides would have settled for the win and at others they would have taken a draw," said McIver.

"Believe me, after 10 or 12 minutes of that match, we would have settled for a point because we were all over the place. But twice in the game we've had to come back and both times they did it."

Armagh led for most of it but ended up thankful to two late scores from Jamie Clarke, as well as wides from Mark Lynch and the otherwise outstanding James Kielt, for ensuring they left Derry city with something tangible.

"Well I think with five minutes to go we would have taken a point so it is a point more than we had this morning, from that perspective it is definitely a point gained," said Orchard coach Brendan Hughes.

Armagh got off to a flier in both halves and had four point leads at both stages. Gavin McParland hit two great early scores as the Orchard side raced into an early lead, but led by Kielt, and with their inside forward line a constant threat, Derry rallied to lead by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time.

Armagh started the second half strongly again and they led by 0-11 to 0-8 when Declan McKenna flashed over when through on goal, one of a handful of missed goal chances for Paul Grimley's side. Armagh led by 0-14 to 0-11 when Mark Lynch kicked an inspirational score off his left to start an Oak Leaf purple patch that brought four scores in a row.

However, Jamie Clarke scored twice either side of a James Kielt free to ensure both sides left with their promotion hopes intact.

Derry: T Mallon; G O'Kane, C McKaigue, D McBride; C Kielt (0-1), M Lynch (0-1), SL McGoldrick; P Bradley, PJ McCloskey; D Heavron (0-1), J Kielt (0-8, 0-5f), E Lynn (0-1); B Heron, E McGuckin (0-1), L Kennedy (0-3). Subs: R Wilkinson for McGuckin (55), C McFaul for Heron (58)

Armagh: P McEvoy; J Morgan, J Donnelly, D McKenna (0-1); A Kernan (0-3f), B Donaghy, C McKeever; J Lavery, S Harold (0-1); K Dyas (0-1), J Hanratty (0-1), C Rafferty; J Clarke (0-3, 0-1f), S Forker (0-2, 0-1f), G McParland (0-3) Subs: M Shields for Morgan (43), G McCoey for Donnelly (46), A Duffy (0-1) for McKeever (50), B Mallon for A Kernan (63)

Referee: F Kelly (Longford)

Belfast Telegraph