McGuckin's crucial goal gives determined Derry the edge
DIVISION TWO: Derry 1-17 Laois 2-11:A superb display at midfield from PJ McCloskey was the platform that allowed Derry to come back from a four-point half-time deficit to see off Laois at Celtic Park.
Defensive lapses had allowed Laois to build that interval advantage thanks to goals from Ross Munnelly and Damien O’Connor but in the second half Derry completely dominated and Emmett McGuckin’s goal proved crucial in the Oak Leaf win.
The Celtic Park pitch held up well in tough conditions and scored flowed freely in the opening half. By the 11th minute it was 0-4 apiece when Derry skipper Mark Lynch kicked a pass straight to Laois full forward Pádraig Clancy who laid the ball off to Munnelly who finished clinically to the net.
Derry responded well to that setback with McGuckin, James Kielt (two) and Eoin Bradley firing points in response to a Gary Walsh free to tie matters up at 0-8 to 1-5. But defensive laxity cost Derry again as Damien O’Connor was given the freedom of the park to fire home the second Laois goal.
Eoin Bradley kicked a response for Derry but with Munnelly pointing and Walsh tacking on another free Justin McNulty’s visiting side led 2-7 to 0-9 at the break.
In the second half Derry were dominant in terms of possession, McGuckin kicked an early free and Eoin Bradley and Ryan Ferris added points from play. But with Pádraig McMahon, Colm Kelly and Conor Boyle kicking scores, it was 2-10 to 1-13 at the end of the third quarter.
The turning point for Derry came when James Kielt’s attempted point dropped short and McGuckin leaped high to get his fist to the ball and direct it to the Laois net.
With Bradley and James Kielt (a free) tacking on quick points, Derry led by 1-15 to 2-10 with 12 minutes to play.
Even the sending off of Kielt for a second yellow card offence couldn’t derail Derry as Lynch and Enda Lynn stretched their lead to four.
Darren Strong’s late point did bring Laois back to within goal but with Chrissy McKaigue dominant at full-back Derry never looked like conceding another goal to the visitors.
DERRY: T Mallon; R Ferris (0-2), D McBride (0-1), C Kielt; C McKaigue, M Lynch (0-1), SL McGoldrick; Patsy Bradley, PJ McCloskey (0-1); B McGoldrick, E Lynn (0-1), J Kielt (0-3, 1f); C Devlin, E McGuckin (1-3, 2f), E Bradley (0-5, 1f). Subs: R Wilkinson for B McGoldrick (51), B Heron for Ferris (53), D Heavron for Devlin (61).
LAOIS: E Culliton; C Healy, K Meaney, P O’Leary; D Strong (0-1), J O’Loughlin, C Boyle (0-1); B Quigley, C Begley; R Munnelly (0-3, 1f), G Walsh (0-3, 3f), Billy Sheehan (1-0); A Doran, P Clancy (0-1), D O’Connor (1-0). Subs: D Booth for Healy (34), C Kelly 0-1 for Doran (h-t) P McMahon (0-1) for Walsh (50mins).
REFEREE: J McQuillan (Cavan)