Allianz FL D2: Derry earn promotion
Allianz Football League Division Two
Derry 0-14 Clare 0-4
By Steven Doherty at Owenbeg
Derry will return to Division One for the first time since 2015. The Oakleaf County, with six wins out of six, finished top of Division Two after defeating Clare with some ease at Owenbeg.
Rory Gallagher’s side had all but wrapped up the game leading by nine points at half-time, and while Clare showed some semblance of resistance scoring all their four points after the break, they never seriously threatened.
The visitors dominated both possession and territory for the first 15 minutes of play, but will have been disappointed to see the scoreboard reading 0-3 to 0-0 to a much more economical opponent.
The Banner County crashed up against the Derry defensive wall on countless forages forward and they would wait until the 28th minute before Emmett McMahon earned the unenviable distinction of hitting Clare’s first shot of the game, which dropped short in to the arms of Odhran Lynch.
The home side sucked up all that early Clare pressure and then picked off their opponent with typical efficiency. Niall Loughlin opened the Derry scoring ledger with their first attack, and in just eight more attacks they had hit seven points.
By half-time the Oakleafers led 0-9 to 0-0 without really finding top gear.
Shane McGuigan accounted for three of those scores with Ethan Doherty – outstanding in the opening half - hitting a brace. Conor Glass and Conor Doherty both scored monster points apiece as is rapidly becoming their trademarks.
Elsewhere Derry’s tackling was as manic, disciplined and intensive as ever with turnovers often resulting.
Pearse Lillis finally opened Clare’s account in the 43rd minute but between times Gareth McKinless, Shane McGuigan and Benny Heron stretched the Derry lead to 0-12 to 0-1.
With victory confirmed the home side took the foot off the pedal and were guilty of a number of uncharacteristically sloppy errors. Padraic Collins’ black card left the Banner a man down for 10 minutes midway through the second half, but his side still manged to knock over a couple of scores through Emmett McMahon, with a brace, and Dermot Coughlan.
This was once again Derry’s day. Ethan Doherty scored his third point of the day and when Shane McGuigan hit point number five for himself it left Derry 10 point victors.
Rory Gallagher’s side travel to Cork on Sunday with promotion and a league final place already secured.
Scorers for Derry: S McGuigan 0-5 (2f), E Doherty 0-3, C Doherty, G McKinless, C Glass, B Heron, P Cassidy, N Loughlin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: E McMahon 0-2, P Lillis and D Coughlan 0-1 each
Derry: Odhran Lynch, Chrissy McKaigue, Eoin McEvoy, Conor McCluskey, Padraig McGrogan, Conor Doherty, Gareth McKinless, Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers, Niall Toner, Paul Cassidy, Ethan Doherty, Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Niall Loughlin.
Subs: Padraig Cassidy for E McEvoy (40), Shea Downey for C Doherty (55), Conleth McGuckian for B Heron (63), Matthew Downey for N Loughlin (64), Niall O’Donnell for B Rogers (67).
Clare: Stephen Ryan, Manus Doherty, Cillian Brennan, Ronan Lannigan, Ciaran Russell, Pearse Lillis, Alan Sweeney, Cathal O’Connor, Darragh Bohannon, Jamie Malone, Eoin Cleary, Dermot Coughlan, Ikem Ugweru, Keelan Sexton, Emmett McMahon.
Subs: Cillian Rouine for A Sweeney (HT), Padraic Collins for I Ugweru (HT), Gavin Cooney for C Russell (43), Michael Garry for R Lannigan (54), Brendy Rouine for M Doherty (63).
Referee: Paul Faloon (Down).