Nothing to separate Derry and Louth

Nothing to separate Derry and Louth

Derry 0-19 Louth 1-16

Both Derry and Louth remain in relegation trouble after they played out a high-scoring draw at Celtic Park this afternoon.

Louth made sure they took something out of the game thanks to injury-time points from Brian White and top scorer Darren Clarke (1-7).

It was 0-11 to 1-8 at half-time with Clarke notching an early goal and Conleith Gilligan landing 0-5 for the hosts.

Paddy Bradley struck six second half points, however Louth hauled Derry back for a share of the spoils.

Former All-Star Bradley underlined the frustration of the home side afterwards, saying: "We threw away a four-point lead. Now we will find out a lot about ourselves in the last match at Westmeath.

"If we had won here today, that might have been a dead rubber (against Westmeath) but we just did not kill Louth off when we had the chances.

"It came back to haunt us, although Louth were awarded a point which we felt was a blatant wide. We expect to go to Westmeath and get the win and stay in Division 2."

Derry and Louth were level on nine occasions during a tit-for-tat first half with the visitors missing the presence of hamstring injury victim Paddy Keenan.

John Brennan's men quickly settled into their stride in sunny conditions, with Blaine Gormley pointing them ahead from 45 metres out.

Brian Donnelly might have struck an early goal for Derry but he blazed wide when presented with the chance, and Louth wasted little time in responding.

The in-form Clarke sparked Louth into life by converting a right-sided free from 30 metres out. He also collected a pass from Ronan Carroll to beat goalkeeper Barry Gillis for the only goal of the game.

Derry bossed the next ten minutes however, with Gilligan opening his account with a quick brace and Eoghan Browne, Bradley and Sean Loe McGoldrick adding further points to move them 0-6 to 1-2 ahead.

Jim McEneaney notched Louth's sole response during that period and the one-point margin remained in place as an unmarked Adrian Reid added Louth's third point and Enda Lynn raised a white flag after a Bradley shot had hit the woodwork.

The Wee County side reeled Derry in as half-time approached it was no surprise that it was level-pegging at the interval with the ever-accurate Gilligan and Clarke (1-3) pointing the way for their respective sides.

Charlie Kielt got on the scoresheet for the hosts just before the break, but Clarke had the final say with a booming '45' to follow up on well-taken points from McEneaney, Jamie Carr and Derek Maguire.

Derry, who thanked Gillis for a crucial save from Carroll in the final minutes of the first half, had the better of the third quarter.

Bradley came into his own to push them 0-15 to 1-11 ahead, responding to a tremendous free from Clarke from the 60-metre range.

Louth were now heavily reliant on Clarke for their scores, although Ray Finnegan, McEneaney and the industrious Carroll also weighed in with crucial efforts.

At one stage, Derry managed to open up a four-point lead as Brown pointed after a strong run from McGoldrick.

Even with two minutes of injury-time left, Bradley's seventh successful shot had two points between the sides, but it was not enough in the end as White and man-of-the-match Clarke pulled a draw out of the fire for Louth.

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