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Derry complete flawless Division 4 campaign with league final victory over Leitrim

Shane McGuigan was the star as the Ulster side ran out four-point winners at Croke Park.

Christopher McKaigue lifts the trophy.
Christopher McKaigue lifts the trophy.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Derry 0-20

Leitrim 0-16

Brendan Graham reports from Croke Park

A SHANE MCGUIGAN exhibition in front of goal gave Derry a four-point win against a dogged Leitrim side in Croke Park this afternoon.

It was end-to-end stuff within the opening five minutes with Leitrim getting the scoreboard up and running after just 53 seconds courtesy of Dean McGovern – to a huge roar from the crowd.

A Conor Doherty score from the kick-out ensured a quick response from Derry before an exchange of points between Shane Moran and Enda Lynn, and a curling effort from Ryan Bell, edged Derry ahead 0-3 to 0-2 inside the opening five minutes.

Leitrim’s forwards did extremely well in the opening half, finding plenty of space for themselves ahead of their defensive markers and racing onto the quick ball from midfield.

Frees from Leitrim forwards Evan Sweeney, Ryan O’Rourke and Domhnaill Flynn gave Terry Hyland’s side the response they needed after a succession of bad wides and inched them into the lead by 0-5 to 0-3 entering the fifteenth minute.

Derry didn’t panic against a strong breeze in the opening half and kept in touch with Leitrim before they really started to raise the intensity of the game with Enda Lynn pulling the strings in attack.

Six points without reply in the last fifteen minutes of the first half for Derry ensured they made their way in at half time leading 0-10 to 0-7.

Aidan Flynn with Enda Lynn Derry's Enda Lynn evades the tackle of Aidan Flynn. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The opening minutes of the second half began just like the first with both sides exchanging early scores through Emlyn Mulligan and Shane McGuigan.

Four points in the second half from lively forward Ryan O’Rourke ensured Leitrim kept their chances of a comeback alive right until the final whistle, but it wasn’t to be for Terry Hyland’s men on their first return to Croke Park since the Tommy Murphy Cup final of 2006.

The open style of football displayed by both sides for the duration of the game ensured a really enjoyable watch for supporters of both counties at GAA HQ.

Leitrim, to their credit, didn’t allow their heads to drop and pushed Derry all the way in the second half with scores from Mulligan, Maguire and O’Rourke keeping them in touch.

Any chance they managed to construct a score for themselves though, Derry responded immediately with two of their own.

Dean McGovern dejected at the full time whistle Dean McGovern can't hide his disappointment after the final whistle. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

It was McGuigan for Derry who would make the most telling contribution on the scoreboard in the second half, a dominant performance from the Slaughtneil forward with five second-half points.

Those crucial McGuigan scores, coupled with two trademark second half points from captain Christopher McKaigue, ensured Derry emerged victorious.

Scorers for Derry: Shane McGuigan (0-6, 2f); Enda Lynn (0-3); Chrissy McKaigue, Emmett Bradley (0-2) Ryan Bell (0-2, 1f) Christopher Bradley(0-2, 2f); Padraig Cassidy, Conor Doherty, Niall Toner (0-1).

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Scorers for Leitrim: Ryan O’Rourke (0-6, 4f); Evan Sweeney (0-2, 1f); Michael McWeeney, Paddy Maguire, Raymond Mulvey, Mark Plunkett, Shane Moran, Dean McGovern, Emlyn Mulligan, Domhnaill Flynn (0-1).

Derry

Thomas Mallon

Karl McKaigue
Brendan Rogers
Paul McNeill

Michael McEvoy
Chrissy McKaigue
Niall Keenan;

Padraig Cassidy
Conor McAtamney

Emmett Bradley
Enda Lynn
Conor Doherty

Shane McGuigan
Ryan Bell
Christopher Bradley

Subs:
Pearce Dolan for Cillian McGloin (32)
Benny Heron for Enda Lynn (50)
Niall Toner for Ryan Bell (50)
Jason Rocks for Conor Doherty (59)
Eamon McGill for Karl McKaigue (64)
Ryan Dougan for Christopher Bradley (70)

Leitrim

Cathal McCrann

Aidan Flynn 1f
Michael McWeeney
Paddy Maguire

Sean McWeeney
Shane Quinn,
Raymond Mulvey

Mark Plunkett
Shane Moran

Dean McGovern 
Emlyn Mulligan
Domhnaill Flynn

Darragh Rooney
Evan Sweeney
Ryan O’Rourke

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About the author:

Brendan Graham

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