Derry’s rookies battle back to win McKenna Cup opener

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Derry’s rookies battle back to win McKenna Cup opener thumbnailDerry’s Neil Forrester tries to dodge this attack during the Dr McKenna Cup game at the weekend against Armagh.

DERRY....................................3-10 ARMAGH...............................2-12

BEFORE a crowd of 2261 at Owenbeg on Sunday, a rookie Derry team battled gamely to overcome the physically stronger and more experienced visitors Armagh.
After struggling for the opening 20 minutes and failing to score, Derry got to grips with the game and ran out narrow but worthy winners at the end of a quite exciting second half.
McKenna Cup victories may mean little when it comes to League and Championship time but still there was a lot to encouraged about from a Derry viewpoint. With a lineout that included eight debutants and another four coming off the bench, it was a strange looking Derry team. Several players would not even be regulars at club level and others looked to be out of position but when they clicked, it was great to watch.
They played with great determination even when they were struggling in the opening 20 minutes as they chased and battled all over the field. After that opening 20 minutes in which they failed to score, they came from four points down to lead by two at half time.
With 12 minutes remaining, they were six in front but had a nervy finish when Armagh veteran Ciaran McKeever blasted a superb goal six minutes into added time to close the gap to one. Thankfully, from a Derry viewpoint, the final whistle sounded when Ben McKindless took the kick out.
Derry now travel to Newry on Sunday in Round Two and they could be without Adie McLaughlin who had been excellent at midfield. In the second half, the big Craigbane man pulled up with a leg injury.


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