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02nd Mar 2024

Ciaran Kilkenny’s revival will have counties feeling nervous as Dublin comfortably beat Derry

Lee Costello

Ciaran Kilkenny

Derry 1-11 1-16 Dublin.

Ciaran Kilkenny is playing some of his best football yet and inspired Dublin to a relatively comfortable win over Derry in the Allianz National League.

Mickey Harte named a much changed Derry side with Emmet Bradley, Eunan Mulholland, Lachlan Murray and Declan Cassidy all drafted into the starting line up, and although they are all brilliant played, it clearly disrupted their flow in the first half.

Dublin were well in top, their movement up front in particular proving to be decisive as they kicked eight points, three of which came from Kilkenny who has found a new lease of life this season.

All of the talk beforehand was around Con O’Callaghan and his brilliant form of late, but with Chrissy McKaiuge keeping him relatively quiet in the opening 35 minutes, Dessie Farrell would be delighted to have seen scores from elsewhere.

The Oakleaf county weren’t out of touch though, as Shane McGuigan was as reliable as ever from the dead ball situation, and the flying defender Conor McKloskey performed his trademark move of breaking out of defence to get on the ball and score a vital goal.

Right before half time Bradley managed to kick Derry’s first point from play, so despite the Dubs having all of the ball, the home side would have been very happy to go in at half time only two points down.

McGuigan gets the first point of the half, but the next 15 minutes was a similar story to the first half with Dublin clearly the superior side, and proving more clinical up front.

However, the Slaughtneil clubman never quit, and very nearly scored the goal of the season as he attempted to lob David O’Hanlon, who was off his line, but the shot stopper managed to get his finger tips to it and make an acrobatic save.

Kilkenny was in the thick of everything, scoring another point from play to make it four, and although a sensational Murray point got the support roaring again, it was quickly subdued when Cormac Costello was sprung from the bench to score a goal almost immediately after coming on.

After that, a wonder-point from Brian Fenton really set the tone from there on, and despite several substitutes being made by Harte, they just couldn’t get themselves back into the match.

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