Updated: March 5th, 2023
Brendan Rogers produced a dramatic injury time winner as Derry kept their 100% league record alive against Dublin at Celtic Park on Saturday night.
by Steven Doherty
Derry 1-11 Dublin 0-13
Derry produced a barnstorming finish to a rejuvenated second half display defeating Dublin by a single point with the last kick of the game. Well below par and trailing by five at half-time, a 44th minute goal from Niall Toner proved the catalyst for a memorable Oakleaf come-back victory.
Derry hit three of the last four points to finally pull level with Dublin before a Brendan Rogers point deep into injury time handed them a dramatic win.
With Brian Fenton in imperious form, the visitors ran in with a five point lead at half-time and led 0-7 to 0-2.
Dublin, ominously, took an early lead through Cormac Costello in their very first attack. And after a long, patient build up where they poked and prodded for any potential weaknesses, Derry finally open their account when Paul Cassidy sold a delicious dummy before curling the ball over the bar in the 5th minute.
Dublin led 0-4 to 0-1 after 14 minutes, with the home side nervously and uncharacteristically firing a number of efforts wide of target.
Con O’Callaghan hit the best of the early points, jinking in and out before tapping over from a tight angle.
Shane McGuigan stopped the rot with a 16th minute free, before back to back Brian Fenton points, what a rolls Royce of a player he is, handed Dublin a 0-6 to 0-2 advantage.
The key moment of a low scoring first half came in the 26th minute when a quick and incisive ball in from Conor Glass released Niall Loughlin through on goal. The Derry forward drilled the ball hard and low but it was denied by the legs of David O’Hanlon and the only goal chance of the first half was squandered.
Little of interest occurred in the last ten minutes to half-time other than John Small’s point which handed Dessie Farrell’s side a 0-7 to 0-2 lead at the break.
Derry were a completely different beast in the second half. If Fenton was the key midfielder in the first 35 minutes, Brendan Rogers was the star turn in the second half.
Rory Gallagher pushed his players up on the Dublin defence and with renewed vigour and intensity the home side gradually turned the tide.
A trademark surging run from impact sub Gareth McKinless served up the only goal of the game and handed Derry a vital life line in the 45th minute. McKinless found Niall Toner at the back post who poked the ball into the back of the net.
The visitors, however, still led 0-11 to 1-7 midway through the second half and may look upon Ciaran Kilkenny’s decision to fist over a point in the 63rd minute with Cormac Costello wide open at far post and the goal gaping.
A brace from Shane McGuigan and another from Lachlan Murray handed Derry the lead for the first time with the clock quickly running out.
A 72nd minute Costello score looked to have preserved a draw for Dublin, before that late, late heroic point from man of the match Rogers.
Scorers for Derry: N Toner 1-0, S McGuigan 0-3 (3fs), P Cassidy 0-2, N Loughlin 0-1 (1f), C Doherty 0-1, B Rogers 0-1, E Doherty 0-1, O McWilliams 0-1, L Murray 0-1
Scorers for Dublin: C Costello 0-3 (1f), L Gannon 0-2, C Kilkenny 0-2, B Fenton 0-2, J Small 0-1, C O’Callaghan 0-1, C Bascal 0-1, T Lahiff 0-1
Derry: Odhran Lynch, Chrissy McKaigue, Eoin McEvoy, Conor McCluskey, Padraig McGrogan, Conor Doherty, Padraig Cassidy, Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers, Niall Toner, Paul Cassidy, Ethan Doherty, Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin.
Subs: Gareth McKinless for P Cassidy (HT), Oisin McWilliams for B Heron (49), Lachan Murray for N Toner (59), Shea Downey for E McEvoy (65), Niall Toner for N Loughlin (70).
Dublin: David O’Hanlon, Daire Newcombe, Michael Fitzsimons, Lee Gannon, James McCarthy, John Small, David Byrne, Brian Fenton, Tom Lahiff, Ciaran Kilkenny, Eoin Murchan, Lorcan O’Dell, Cormac Costello, Dean Rock, Con O’Callaghan
Subs: Niall Scully for L O’Dell (42), Colm Basquel for T Lahiff (53), Sean Lowry for D Rock (57), Brian Howard for J McCarthy (63).
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).