Gareth McKinless has the kind of impact that all subs dream of as Derry beat Dublin 2 months ago

Gareth McKinless has the kind of impact that all subs dream of as Derry beat Dublin

Derry 1-11 ย 0-13 Donegal.

Gareth McKinless came off the bench as Derry trailed against Dublin and he had the sort of impact that all substitutes dream of possessing.


The Oakleaf county went into this game as the favourites, and the hype was mounting around them - their tackling, intensity, fitness and eye for goal; it was all supposed to be second to none as they have dominated Division Two.

Meanwhile, the once all-conquering Dubs cruised through their games without ever seeming to get out of second gear.

McKinless Derry

However, it was role reversal in the first half at Celtic Park as Dublin completely took control, spearheaded by Brian Fenton who dominated the air, the ground, and everything around him.


Derry looked lethargic, and even toothless in some moments, as they failed to make a single turnover and only managed to kick two points in the opening 35 minutes.

No doubt Rory Gallagher kicked a few arses in the dressing room, but the biggest thing he did was order the substitution for Gareth McKinless to come on.

McKinless Derry

Almost immediately, the Ballinderry man introduced everything that we've come to expect from this Derry team. He brought demonic ferocity, dived into tackles, squared up to every man in blue who dared tried to play football, and he energised the entire county.


Suddenly the pitch was plastered in red and white as the Ulster champions skipped third, fourth and fifth gear, jumping straight into sixth and setting all roads towards the capital.

They chipped away at the scoreline, and then in a moment that typifies the driven determination that is synonymous with this team, McKinless picked up the ball on the right flank, looked like he had gone too wide to really have an impact, but put the burners on and ripped through the opposition defence.


The defender exploded like a detonator when the sniff of goal presented itself, but he still managed to work it across and after a bit of chaos, Niall Toner managed to put it in the net.

Now the football really began, as both squads forced the best out of one another, but with Celtic Park now rocking, the home side always just looked like they had a slight edge over their rivals.

Ciaran Kilkenny found himself driving down towards goal, and with Cormac Costello free with an open goal in front of him, all he had to do was pass it across.


However, the sensible side of the Dublin legend let him down, and he fisted it over the bar. Whilst every score felt vital, a goal would have taken the wind out of Derry.

Instead, the league leaders were galvanised, and with subsequent scores coming from Ethan Doherty, Shane McGuigan and Lachlan Murray, things were all square in the dying seconds.

McKinless Derry

Paul Cassidy was in ridiculous form, blocking everything that Dublin threw at his team, and that kept his side in it as they went down the other end looking a winner.

The referee had the whistle in his mouth and the ghost of that loss against Donegal in the championship two years ago was ringing in their ears.

On that occasion, no one was able to stand up and grab the game, but Brendan Rodgers wasn't going to let that happen this time, as he bombed forward to kick a score and seal a historic win for Derry.

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