Kildare 0-19 Derry 0-13
Kildare’s superior work-rate and support play laid the foundations for this All-Ireland SFC fourth round qualifier win over a dogged Derry side this afternoon.
The teams were level on six occasions during a first half that ended 0-11 to 0-8 in the Lilywhites’ favour.
Declan Mullan scored three points for fast-starting Derry and Enda Muldoon had a goal disallowed for a square ball.
With their captain John Doyle landing four frees and James Kavanagh impressing, Kildare muscled ahead before the break.
Conleith Gilligan kept the beaten Ulster finalists in touch during the third quarter, but they lacked the necessary firepower and Kieran McGeeney’s men won out.
The victory extended Kildare’s excellent recent record in the qualifiers. The Lilywhites, who were wearing green jerseys today, came into this game with a record of 10 wins and a draw in their previous qualifier matches under McGeeney.
Derry can still be proud of their performance at GAA headquarters. The six-day turnaround from their Ulster final defeat to Donegal will not be used as an excuse, but there were tired legs in a strength-sapping second half.
When the game got underway in front of a small Croke Park crowd, Declan Mullan, one of three late changes to the Derry team, waltzed through to score the opening point at the Hill 16 end.
Mullan slotted in at centre-forward, and Kevin McCloy and Gerard O’Kane were brought into the defence in place of Ciaran Mullan and Michael Bateson.
Kildare showed their mobility as a swift break, with Hugh McGrillen darting forward, led to Tomás O'Connor levelling the sides.
O’Connor and Kavanagh, who started in place of Fionn Dowling, combined well in a two-man full-forward line for the Lilywhites.
But Derry moved the ball impressively in the early stages, defender Sean Leo McGoldrick bursting through for a score and Mullan followed up with his second for a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
Kildare talisman John Doyle lobbed over a free to make it 50th consecutive Championship matches that he has scored in, and Robert Kelly got his shot away under pressure from Dermot McBride, squaring things up again.
Muldoon and Kelly were afforded too much space as they added to their sides’ respective tallies, before Doyle converted his second free for a 0-5 to 0-4 scoreline.
Derry should have found the net midway through the half. Mark Lynch found himself in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Shane Connolly. Lynch elected to pass rather than shoot himself, and Muldoon’s fisted effort was disallowed by referee Syl Doyle for an apparent square ball.
John Brennan’s red-shirted charges recovered from that setback and James Kielt and Conleith Gilligan popped up with pointed frees. Moments later, Kildare responded through free-taker Doyle.
It was nip and tuck all the way up to the break, Kildare edging back in front thanks to the industrious McGrillen and Derry answering back through Mullan, their most impressive forward.
Kildare forced the issue in the concluding minutes. Kavanagh, with two points from play, Doyle (free) and Eamonn Callaghan were all on target, while at the other end Joe Diver strode through the middle for Derry’s eighth point.
Doyle was switched into the full-forward line, and Kildare kickstarted the second period with a fisted point from Eoghan O’Flaherty.
A close-in free from Gilligan closed the gap to 0-12 to 0-9. Kevin McGuckin was then yellow carded as he struggled to contain Kavanagh, and Doyle mopped up with the resulting free.
Lynch was involved in the build-up to an inspiration 50-yard score from Gerard O’Kane, however Kildare were beginning to motor. The inside men, Kavanagh and O’Connor, clipped over successive points to make it 0-15 to 0-10.
After three poor wides from McGeeney’s outfit, Derry skipper Barry McGoldrick brought it back to a four-point game - only for Doyle to show his accuracy again from a free.
Derry hung in there with another white flag from Gilligan, yet Kildare ominously hit back through Kavanagh and Padraig O’Neill, who scored a peach off the outside of his boot.
O’Kane had a chance snuffed out and McGrillen cleared the danger. Derry kept plugging away and were rewarded with a fourth point of the evening from Gilligan.
With time running out, substitute Ronan Sweeney got in the scoring act for Kildare as they finished up as satisfying six-point winners.
Kildare: John Doyle 0-6 (0-6f), James Kavanagh 0-4, Robert Kelly, Tomás O'Connor 0-2 each, Hugh McGrillen, Eamonn Callaghan, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Padraig O’Neill, Ronan Sweeney 0-1 each
Derry: Conleith Gilligan 0-4 (0-3f), Declan Mullan 0-3, Sean Leo McGoldrick, Enda Muldoon, James Kielt (0-1f), Joe Diver, Gerard O’Kane, Barry McGoldrick 0-1 each
KILDARE: Shane Connolly; Aindriú Mac Lochlainn, Michael Foley, Hugh McGrillen; Gary White, Morgan O'Flaherty, Emmet Bolton; John Doyle (capt), Daryl Flynn; Padraig O'Neill, Eoghan O'Flaherty, Eamonn Callaghan; Robert Kelly, Tomás O'Connor, James Kavanagh.
Subs used: Ollie Lyons for White (24 mins), Ronan Sweeney for Flynn (63), Fionn Dowling for E O'Flaherty, Damien Hendy for McGrillen (both 69).
DERRY: Danny Devlin; Kevin McGuckin, Kevin McCloy, Dermot McBride; Gerard O’Kane, Charlie Kielt, Sean Leo McGoldrick; Joe Diver, Michael Friel; Mark Lynch, Declan Mullan, Barry McGoldrick (capt); Enda Muldoon, James Kielt, Conleith Gilligan.
Subs used: PJ McCloskey for Friel (40 mins), Michael Bateson for J Kielt (43), Martin Donaghy for Lynch (48), Niall Holly for McCloskey (54), Caolan O’Boyle for C Kielt (63).
Referee: Syl Doyle (Wexford).