Defeat but Derry hurlers still make League final

Derry Senior hurling manager John McEvoy.
Derry Senior hurling manager John McEvoy.

Allianz National Hurling League Division 2B

Derry 0-16, Wicklow 2-16

In a dress rehearsal for next week’s League final, Wicklow enjoyed a fine six point win over Derry at Dean McGlinchey Park on Sunday.

Down's defeat in Kildare ensured John McEvoy's men will go again next week against the same opposition whose victory saw them leapfrog the Oak Leafers to top the Division as both counties finished with eight points from their five fixtures.

Goals in either half by Andy O’Brien, later red carded, and Eoin McCormack proved the key scores for the Garden County and few could argue with the half-time scoreboard at Ballinascreen which read 1-9 to 0-4 in favour of the visitors. Perhaps it was knowledge that only a freak set of results and scorelines that could deny them their final spot that was responsible for the Oak Leafers out of sorts opening half that saw a first defeat as Derry manager for McEvoy.

Eamon Scallon’s visitors were that little bit sharper from the first whistle, and while the missed a fair few shots, defensively his charges were on top throughout to secure a result that will give them a psychological boost.

Wicklow breezed to a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 15 minutes, with free-taker Christopher Moorehouse their chief scorer. Derry rarely flicked into life in the opening 35 minutes but Richie Mullan’s accuracy from frees ensured the home side only trailed 0-6 to 0-4 by the half hour mark.

However, it was Wicklow who seized the initiative, accounting for the last four scores of the half, the chief of which, Andy O’Brien’s 34th minute goal, stretched the Wicklow advantage to eight points at the break.

Derry improved after the interval but Wicklow were always in control. Mullan amassed 11 points for the home side, but when Eoin McCormack goaled from close in on 66 mins it confirmed Wicklow’s win.

Derry scorers: R Mullan 0-11 (0-9 fs), M McGuigan, G Bradley, D Cartin, M McGrath and J Mullan 0-1 each.

Wicklow scorers: C Moorehouse 0-5 (4f), A O’Brien 1-2 (0-1 f), E Donohue 0-3 (0-1f), E McCormack 1-0,J Henderson and J O’Neill 0-2 each, M Boland and L Evans 0-1 each.

Derry: S Kelly, P Kelly, S Cassidy, R McCartney, C Kelly, B Og McGilligan, L Hinphey, M McGuigan, P Cleary, G Bradley, R Mullan, T Brady, N Waldron, M McGrath, N Ferris. (Subs) J Mullan for N Waldron (HT), D Cartin for N Ferris (HT), C Waldron for T Brady (53).

Wicklow: C Staunton, B Kearney, B Cuddihy, M O’Brien, G Byrne, S Kelly, W Kavanagh, J Henderson, J Doyle, E McCormack, E Donohue, M Boland, C Moorehouse, A O’Brien, J O’Neill. (Subs) D Staunton for J Doyle (48), E Kearns for M Boland (53), L Evans for C Moorehouse (65), G Hughes for E Donohue (68)

Referee: C Cunning (Antrim)