Derry are through to the Christy Ring Cup Final for the first time since 2015 after they held off a valiant challenge from first-time semi-finalists Sligo at Owenbeg on Saturday.
Cormac O’Doherty was in top-form for Derry at a blistering hot Owenbeg, the team captain hit 0-12 in total to supplement a lively Oak Leaf forward division, who kept the scoreboard ticking throughout to keep an earnest Sligo challenge at arm’s length.
In the opening period a string of points from O’Doherty, Gerald Bradley and Sé McGuigan put Derry in the driving seat and although Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch hit the net for Sligo, the hosts hit back with seven unanswered scores on their way to leading by 0-16 to 1-7 at half-time.
Odhrán McKeever came on to hit a brace of quick points to help Derry move nine clear after the restart, but a Joe McHugh goal gave Sligo renewed hope. Sligo’s goal-scorers finished with 2-10 between them, but with O’Doherty hitting 0-12, Derry kept their opponents at bay.
Derry will face Offaly in the 2021 Christy Ring Cup Final (Sunday August 1st, 1pm in Croke Park). The Faithful county had a facile victory over Wicklow on Saturday afternoon, emerging on a scoreline of 6-30 to 0-11.
Teams and scorers
Derry: O O’Doherty, C McAllister, S Cassidy, M McGrath, J Mullan, B McGilligan, R Mullan, E Cassidy, C O’Doherty, M McGuigan, G Bradley, D McCloskey, D Foley, Se McGuigan, B Cassidy; Subs: O McKeever for C McAllister (24), P Nelis for E Cassidy (63), S Cassidy for D Foley (69)
Scorers for Derry: Cormac O’Doherty 0-12 (8f); Gerald Bradley 0-5; Sé McGuigan 0-3; Brian Cassidy 0-2; Odhrán McKeever 0-2; Eoghan Cassidy 0-1; Mark McGuigan 0-1; Déaglán Foley 0-1; Richie Mullan 0-1
Sligo: S Fleming, K O’Kennedy, N Feehily, N Kilcullen, K Banks, R McHugh, G Connolly, M Hanniffy, T O’Kelly, C Hanniffy, J McHugh, F Cawley, Tomas Cawley, G O’Kelly-Lynch, A Kilcullen; Subs: E Comerford for G Connolly (HT), L O’Kelly-Lynch for T Cawley (70)
Scorers for Sligo: Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch 1-6 (0-5f); Joe McHugh 1-4; Conor Hanniffy 0-2; Andrew Kilcullen 0-1; Thomas Cawley 0-1; Eoin Comerford 0-1; Rory McHugh 0-1; Liam O’Kelly Lynch 0-1
Referee: Kevin Brady (Louth)