Five second-half points from Shea McGuigan proved crucial for Derry as they beat Leitrim by 0-20 to 0-16 in Saturday’s Division 4 league final at Croke Park.
In an open and entertaining final, Leitrim worked tirelessly throughout and led by 0-6 to 0-3 at one stage in the first half. But Terry Hyland’s side were guilty of a number of wides and Derry finished the half with six unanswered points to lead by 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time.
Derry moved 0-16 to 0-10 in the second-half with McGuigan central to that lead – but Leitrim never gave up and battled right to the finish.
It was Leitrim’s fifth ever appearance at Croke Park – they had lost the previous four games at GAA headquarters.
Glencar/Manorhamilton’s Evan Sweeney gave his postmatch assessment to Ocean FM Sport’s John Lynch.
Cathal McCrann; Aidan Flynn, Micheal McWeeney (0-1), Paddy Maguire (0-1), Raymond Mulvey (0-1), Sean McWeeney, Cillian McGloin, Mark Plunkett (0-1), Shane Moran (0-1), Shane Quinn, Ryan O’Rourke (0-6), Dean McGovern (0-1), Domhnall Flynn (0-1 free), Emyln Mulligan (0-1), Evan Sweeney (0-2). Subs used: Pearce Dolan for McGloin, Darragh Rooney for Mulligan, Damian Moran for Moran, Conor Reynolds for Flynn, Jack Heslin for D Flynn.