Derry set up final clash with Dublin and confirm Roscommon’s relegation

Mickey Harte’s side put in signature second-half performance to run out 13-point winners

NFL Division One: Derry 2-19 Roscommon 1-9

Derry confirmed their place in the Division One league final against Dublin and in doing so relegated a disappointing Roscommon to Division Two after a comprehensive 13-point victory at Celtic Park.

All bar one point of the winner’s 2-19 tally came from play, with only one free over the 70 minutes. Lachlan Murray took the man of the match honours, hitting 1-4, with both Shane McGuigan and Ethan Doherty helping themselves to four points each from play.

In a season that has promised much and delivered plenty, Derry’s second-half display was a signature performance ahead of this weekend’s final at Croke Park.

Immaculate conditions greeted both sides at Celtic Park and it was Roscommon’s ‘do or die’ attitude that asked any number of questions of their hosts in a helter-skelter first half.


Davy Burke’s men trailed 1-8 to 1-5 at the break but would rue at least two more goal chances that they spurned in the opening 35 minutes. Enda Smith was culpable of the first of those when the burly midfielder blasted over the crossbar to open the day’s scoring.

The home side replied in kind through a Shane McGuigan free and a Conor Glass point that could well have ended up in the back of the Roscommon net.

Derry did hit the first goal of the contest when Declan Cassidy gave Conor Carroll no chance, slotting home clinically in the 10th minute. But no sooner than the Derry fans’ cheers died down when Donie Smith took full advantage of a defensive mishap to palm home to leave the Rossies trailing 1-2 to 1-1 after 11 minutes.

Derry, lacking their usual zip early on, found themselves behind 1-5 to 1-4 10 minutes later when Diarmuid Murtagh, Eoin McCormack and Niall Daly all raised white flags.

Mickey Harte’s side did, however, finish the half with a little more of their usual chutzpah. Lachlan Murray turned his man inside out before hitting the post before the same player levelled matters with a monster point executed with real confidence.

Daire Cregg’s 22nd-minute free would be Roscommon’s last score of the half. Derry, by contrast, helped themselves to four in a row through Murray, and a second apiece from both Paul Cassidy and McGuigan.

With everything on the line, Roscommon burst out of the blocks after half-time and reeled Derry in at 1-8 apiece after 40 minutes. Murtagh scored a brace as the visitors briefly threatened an upset.

Stung into action, Derry responded in style and hit 12 of the next 13 scores.

Niall Toner and Ethan Doherty both arrowed over two efforts from tight angles before Murray took the game by the scruff of the neck.

The injury-plagued Desertmartin ace nailed his third and fourth points of the afternoon before blasting home Derry’s second goal in the 62nd minute.

It added up to a 2-15 to 1-8 lead for the Oakleafers, leaving Roscommon hopes gossamer thin. Substitute Conor Cox scored his side’s fourth and final point of the second half soon after as Burke’s side appeared to accept the inevitable.

Derry, however, weren’t finished yet. Ethan Doherty and Cormac Murphy pointed before a final brace from McGuigan confirmed Derry’s comfortable victory.

DERRY: O Lynch; C McCluskey, C McKaigue, D Baker; G McKinless, E McEvoy (0-1), D Gilmore; C Glass (0-1), C Doherty; E Doherty (0-4), D Cassidy (1-0), P Cassidy (0-2); C McGuckin, S McGuigan (0-4, 1f), L Murray (1-4).

Subs: B Rogers for G McKinless (8 mins); C McFaul (0-1) for D Cassidy, N Toner (0-1) for C McGuckian (h-t); S Downey for C Doherty (56); M Downey for C Glass (62); C Murphy (0-1) for L Murray (64).

ROSCOMMON: C Carroll; D Murray, B Stack, P Gavin; N Daly (0-1), N Higgins, E McCormack (0-1); E Smith (0-2), U Harney; D Ruane, R Fallon, R Daly; D Cregg (0-1, f), D Murtagh (0-3, 0-2f), D Smith (1-0).

Subs: C Connolly for D Cregg (49 mins); C Hussey for N Higgins, J Fitzpatrick for D Smith (both 53); C Cox (0-1) for R Fallon (61); C Lennon for U Harney (63).

Referee: David Gough.