CHRISTY RING CUP FINAL: Classy Kerry end Derry’s Croke Park dream

Kerry's Colum Harty tries to get away from Derry's Liam Hinphey in Croke Parky. (Photo:Ryan Byrne - INPHO)
Kerry's Colum Harty tries to get away from Derry's Liam Hinphey in Croke Parky. (Photo:Ryan Byrne - INPHO)

Derry 0-12 Kerry 1-20

Derry’s Christy Ring Cup dreams were dashed by a dominant Kerry team for whom Shane Nolan was in fantastic form and grabbed the game’s only goal five minutes before half-time.

Tom McLean’s team were always playing ‘catch up’ in the game and while they put in a determined display, Kerry’s extra class was always evident although some questions refereeing decisions did not help the Oak Leafers, especially with Nolan in unerring form from placed balls.

Kerry started well with Michael O’Leary and Nolan registering points inside the opening 60 seconds but Ruairi Convery responded with Derry’s first point from a free after Kerry’s Patrick Kelly had been penalised.

Keith Carmody stretched the Kingdom’s lead to 0-3 to 0-1 with a huge long range point following a tussle with Paddy McCloskey which saw the Derry player forced off with an injury to be replaced by Niall Ferris.

The disruption didn’t seem to unduly unsettle McLean’s team with Na Magha’s Alan Grant grabbing a superb point over his shoulder from wide on the left touchline to bring it back to the minimum.

Derry's Alan Grant shoot on goal during the Christy Ring Cup FInal. (INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

Derry's Alan Grant shoot on goal during the Christy Ring Cup FInal. (INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

Indeed Derry had a sniff of a goal chance when good work from Conor McSorley and Aaron Kelly put Grant in space to the left of the Kerry goal but the Derry player was hauled to the floor unceremoniously by Kerry keeper Stephen Murphy who was booked for the challenge. Convery scored the subsequent free to tie the game at three points a-piece.

Kerry hit a mini-purple patch with three points in as many minutes to establish a degree of control with Colum Harty, Nolan (free) and John Egan on target. Convery and O’Leary swapped points for 0-7 to 0-4 before O’Leary again, and a huge score from half-back Danny Collins, left Derry with some catching up to do at 0-9 to 0-4 on 26 minutes.

The Oak Leafers started clawing something back thanks to Liam Hinphey’s brilliant solo run and shot but just as they looked to be getting a foothold in the game, Kerry struck with that crucial goal from Nolan who accelerated away from McSorley and finished well after good work from Harty.

A Paddy Henry free left six between the sides at 1-9 to 0-6 but Derry were struggling to stay with Kerry who should have scored a second goal when Harty pulled first time on an effort after being put through but fired inches wide.

Kerry's John Eganbattles with Sean McGuigan of Derry (Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

Kerry's John Eganbattles with Sean McGuigan of Derry (Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

Despite being second best for most of the half, Derry will not have been too disappointed at the interval as two further Convery frees kept them in touch at 1-10 to 0-8 going in at half-time.

Kerry’s Mikey Boyle watched another major chance flash across goal and wide within seconds of the restart as Kerry looked to forge a match winning lead but a scrappy half would remain without a score until Nolan’s 45th minute free.

It took the Oak Leafers until the 49th minute to finally open their second half account when Paddy Henry sent over a long range free, a trick he repeated minutes later after Nolan had did likewise for Kerry to leave the game 1-12 to 0-10 on 52 minutes.

With the half still awaiting its first score from play, Nolan was again on target from a free before Carmody finally registered a point from play as Eamon Kelly team began to pull away from Derry.

Substitute Jonathan O’Dwyer did grab a lovely point but it was quickly cancelled out by two Patrick Kelly points from play to reaffirm Kerry’s superiority at 1-16 to 0-11 with 10 minutes remaining.

Further frees from Nolan were merely academic as Kerry ran out comfortable winners with Derry forced to go for goals and never really threatening to bridge the gap. The Oak Leafers’ sorrows were compounded in the second minute of injury time when Kevin Hinphey received a second yellow card for a needless foul on James Flaherty, the final whistle sounding barely seconds after the disgruntled Derry player had made his way off the pitch.

Derry: Darrell McDermott; Michael Warnock, Conor Quinn, Sean McCullagh; Liam Og Hinphey (0-1), Conor McSorley, Kevin Hinphey; Sean Mc Guigan, Breandán Quigley; Patrick McCloskey, Paul Cleary, Paddy Henry (0-4, 4f); Aaron Kelly, Ruairi Convery (0-5, 5f), Alan Grant (0-1). (Subs) Niall Ferris for P McCloskey (inj) 5mins; Dean Flanagan for B Quigley, 30mins; Jonathan O’Dwyer (0-1) for P Cleary, 39mins; Ruairi McCloskey for C McSorley (inj) 57mins; Michael Conway for A Grant, 60mins;

Kerry: Stephen Murphy; Rory Horgan, Paul Costelloe, Bryan Murphy; Daniel Collins (0-1), Darren Dineen, Keith Carmody (0-3); John Griffin, Patrick Kelly (0-2); Michael O’Leary (0-3), Shane Nolan (1-8, 7f), Colum Harty (0-2); Mikey Boyle (0-1), Padraig Boyle, John Egan (0-1). (Subs) John O’Neill for P Boyle, 43mins; David Butler for M O’Leary, 50mins; Sean Weit for M Boyle, 58mins; James Flaherty for C Harty, 62mins; Dougie Fitzell for D Dineen, 67mins;

Referee: