A forlorn Kildare slumped to a second alarming home defeat in succession as a seemingly inexorable fall towards Division 3 and Tailteann Cup football gathered pace at St Conleth’s Park this afternoon.

Derry are clearly a team further along in their development path than Kildare’s previous conquerors Cork but the ease with which they went one point better than the Rebels did in taking the spoils home from Lilywhite soil three weeks ago must surely raise alarm bells within the County Board.

Despite the late, heroic comeback win against Clare last week, Kildare looked shorn of confidence, particularly in front of the posts where their goalless efforts have now stretched to over five games. To register only two points from play in front of their home supporters, who turned up in good numbers again, sets another low bar.

Perhaps it would have been different had Neil Flynn converted a goal chance from the first attack, but his weak attempt was easily parried by Derry ‘keeper Odhran Lynch and that merely emphasised Kildare’s fragility as Derry went on to take full advantage.

After Shane McGuigan’s free put Derry in front from their first attack, they served an early warning when Benny Heron collected a wayward shot from Niall Loughlin and blasted off the post with the Kildare defence missing-in-action.

By the 21st minute, the Ulster side were 0-5 to 0-1 ahead, but it could have been more had home goalkeeper Mark Donnellan not tipped over Heron’s goalbound shot. The Maynooth man would stand between Kildare and a complete rout time and again with Derry transitioning the ball superbly from defence to attack.

The opening goal was coming, though, and when it did after 25 minutes it was finished with ease by Loughlin, who sidestepped Shea Ryan and buried to Donnellan’s net. By half-time, Kildare had managed just three points, two Flynn frees and a booming Alex Beirne long-ranger with wind-assistance, but Derry had moved onto 1-8.

Kildare had yanked Jack Robinson off before half-time and at the interval Neil Flynn and Darragh Malone were sacrificed. Both had started as late replacements for the injured Jimmy Hyland and Ryan Houlihan.

The changes had no miraculous effect though. Kildare’s wayward shooting had them on the way to 14 wides and an overall 25% score to shot statistic, and while Derry weren’t always clinical either they continued to keep the scoreboard ticking in the third quarter with Kildare offering nothing in that regard in return.

By the time McGuigan, who finished on a healthy 1-7 but also frustrated his supporters with a number of efforts dropped short, found the net with ease on 42 minutes, his side were 2-10 to 0-3 ahead.

It could have been worse shortly afterwards when Ryan dropped a short Donnellan kick-out to hand Heron a glorious opportunity, but Donnellan pushed his shot out for a ’45.

Donnellan had to make a further save to deny Paul Cassidy while Kildare butchered a half-chance of a goal when Kevin Feely’s long ball sailed over full back Eoin McEvoy but Darragh Kirwan was unable to take possession of the ball.

It was that sort of day. Kirwan did manage three frees as the clock wound-down in front of an ever-decreasing crowd, those coming after Naas clubmate Paddy McDermott had landed the second Kildare point from play.

KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mick O’Grady, Shea Ryan, Darragh Malone; David Hyland, Kevin Flynn, Paddy McDermott 0-1; Kevin Feely, Kevin O’Callaghan; Eoin Doyle, Ben McCormack, Alex Beirne 0-1; Neil Flynn 0-2 (2fs), Darragh Kirwan 0-3 (3fs), Jack Robinson.

Subs: Daniel Flynn for Robinson 30, Shane O’Sullivan for N Flynn HT, Jack Sargent for Malone HT, Paul Cribbin for Beirne 43, Barry Coffey for McCormack 54.

DERRY: Odhran Lynch; Chrissy McKaigue, Eoin McEvoy 0-1, Conor McCluskey; Conor Doherty, Padraig McGrogan, Padraig Cassidy; Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers; Niall Toner 0-2 (1f), Paul Cassidy, Ethan Doherty 0-3; Benny Heron 0-2, Shane McGuigan 1-7 (4fs 1m), Niall Loughlin 1-0.

Subs: Shea Downey for McGrogan 49, Oisin McWilliams for Heron 59, Conleth McGuckian for Padraig Cassidy 63, Paul McNeill for McEvoy 65, Ben McCarron for Toner 67.

Referee: Barry Judge (Sligo). 

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