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Derry edge Down in penalty shoot-out

Sunday 15th January 2023

Derry edge Down in penalty shoot-out to reach McKenna Cup final against Tyrone

January 15, 2023

©INPHO/Tom Maher

Derry are through to the Dr McKenna Cup final after edging Down in a penalty shoot-out at Pairc Esler this afternoon.

The sides couldn’t be separated after 70 minutes at the Newry venue, where it finished 3-9 to 1-15, this thrilling semi-final went straight to spot kicks with no extra time periods played.

Conor Doherty struck the winning penalty for the visitors while ‘keeper Odhran Lynch stopped Down’s first two spot kicks, as Rory Gallagher’s men now look forward to a final date against Tyrone next weekend.

Padraig Cassidy netted the game’s first goal after 16 minutes and while Niall Donnelly pulled one back for the Mourne men on the half-hour mark, it was the Oak Leafers that took in a 1-8 to 1-6 half-time lead.

The hosts started the second-half in the best possible fashion with Donnelly firing in his second goal of the contest and they’d have the ball in Derry’s net again seven minutes later through Ceilium Doherty.

Ben McCarron’s point at the other end made it 3-6 to 1-10 and, from there, the Ulster champions were able to retake the lead ahead of Down getting in front in injury-time and Shane McGuigan drawing the game with the last kick from a free.

The lottery of penalties then went the way of Gallagher’s men (3-2), with Doherty the hero as they now get set to face old rivals Tyrone next Saturday with some silverware on the line.