Down 1-12 Derry 2-9
Down had to come from five points down in their
Guinness Ulster SHC semi-final clash to take a
five-point interval lead, but it was Derry in
the end that could have secured victory.
Instead, the sides finished level, Down 1-12
An injury-time Gregory Biggs sideline cut was
just centimetres out, and struck the crossbar
before dropping safely into the arms of
goalkeeper Graham Clarke. Pre-match underdogs
Derry got off to the perfect start when Geoffrey
McGonigle fielded a Ruairi Convery free to the
goalmouth and kicked the sliothar to the net in
the third minute. And three minutes later, Derry
had extended their lead with superb points from
Gregory Biggs and Ray Kennedy.
Down's response was immediate with scores form
Brendan McGourty and Gerard Adair but McGonigle
hit back with a free after he'd been fouled.
Midway through the half Adair scored a second
point to leave three between the sides, before
Eoin Clarke made further inroads into Derry's
lead with a fine point.
In the 20th minute, McGonigle was injured in a
tackle but the referee waved play on and Martin
Coulter raced 30 metres to crash the ball to the
net to give Down the lead for the first time.
Points from a Wilson free and Coulter extended
their lead, though Derry refused to fold and
came back through another pointed free by
McGonigle. However, scores from Gareth Johnson
and Treanor ensured Down held a comfortable
half-time advantage, 1-9 to 1-4.
Gary Biggs followed Steven Clarke into the
referee's notebook early in the second half
before Ray Kennedy scored an inspirational point
for Derry. The Oak Leafers were on a roll and
McGonigle reduced the deficit still further in
the 45th minute. Three minutes later, they were
level when a McGonigle free rebounded off the
post and Sean McBride was in the right position
to crash a shot to the net past Clarke.
Treanor and John O'Dwyer traded points,
before McGonigle put Derry ahead, 2-8 to 1-10,
midway through the half. Coulter missed a
proverbial sitter from 10 metres soon after that
might have proved costly, but the clearance came
back to substitute Andy Savage who salvaged a
levelling score with 15 minutes remaining.
Ten minutes from time, Greg Biggs pointed a free
from all of 100 metres, but down drew level
again before a rousing finale, that ended with
the Oak Leafers coming within centimetres of
snatching a win. But Greg Biggs' sideline cut
dropped just short. The replay is fixed for
Casement Park next Sunday with a throw-in time