Derry may be the new kids on the block in Division One of the Allianz National League but Brian McIver’s men added to their growing reputation by overcoming All-Ireland and league champions Dublin by six points.
At Celtic Park, centre-half-forward and captain Mark Lynch provided much of the inspiration for the 1-16 to 0-13 win. Lynch, who proved a handful for a number of Dublin markers, made a personal contribution of 1-8.
Both sides finished the game with 14 men after Derry’s Mark Craig was dismissed for two yellow cards inside a two minutes period in the second-half and, within seconds of Craig’s sending off, Dubliner defender Philly McMahon was issued with a straight red card in a separate incident.
“A very important win,” said Lynch, speaking to TG4. “We knew coming up to Division One how tough it would be, that you have to be at your best every game and every game is a like a championship game . . . . (it’s) back to the drawing board on Tuesday night (at training) and (work) to get another result.”
Lynch was quite magnificent in pulling the strings for Derry, who mixed physicality with speed and some great opportunism in outplaying Dublin who suffered their second defeat of the campaign and now have a battle to make the play-offs.
“Last season and this season whenever we needed someone to step up to the mark, Mark has done that,” admitted manager McIver afterwards, who also threw plaudits to some of the younger players who have broken on to the team and described their performance as “top class.”
Derry led 1-10 to 0-9 at half-time, Lynch calmly firing beyond Dubliner goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton’s reach shortly before the half-time whistle. Indeed, Derry had strong claims for a penalty in the dying embers of that period when Seán George seemed to foul Caolan O’Boyle as he closed in on Cluxton’s goal.
Dublin had two great goal-scoring opportunities of their own on the restart, with substitute Tomás Brady crashing one effort wide off the upright and Darren Daly spurning another clear chance.
Alan Brogan was Dublin's best forward and contributed six points from play in keeping them in touch. After the two dismissals, however, it was Derry who pushed on to close the deal with Lynch – as he was throughout – at the centre of things with a couple of excellent long range points.
Kerry made it back-to-back wins in successive weeks in following up their big win over Tyrone last week and a comprehensive 2-15 to 0-15 win over Kildare in Newbridge. The Irish rugby team may have bid farewell to BOD but Kerry have JOD and James O’Donoghue – a hat-trick hero a week ago – was again the star of the show for the Kingdom in setting up Paul Geaney for his side’s first goal and then firing home the second.
Tyrone reacted to their defeat at the hands of Kerry with a 14 points win – 2-23 to 1-12 – over Westmeath who have found life difficult in the top flight. Ronan O’Neill and Seán Cavanagh were the Tyrone goalscorers in consolidating their claims for a place in the semi-finals.
League leaders Cork failed to cope with high-scoring Mayo, who have found their feet after losing their opening two games in the league campaign. Mayo – with goals from Jason Doherty, Alan Freeman, Jason Gibbons and Cillian O'Connor – ran out 4-12 to 1-13 winners over the Leesiders.
A goal from Niall Madine – who pounced after Conor Maginn’s initials shot was blocked by Paul Durcan – proved critical as Down inflicted a first defeat of the league on Donegal in Division Two.
Derry 1-16 Dublin 0-13
Tyrone 2-23 Westmeath 1-12
Kildare 0-15 Kerry 2-15
Mayo 4-12 Cork 2-14
Down 1-9 Donegal 0-10
Louth 2-9 Galway 0-15
Wexford 2-12 Sligo 1-12
Cavan 1-9 Longford 0-10
Fermanagh 0-18 Limerick 1-6
Roscommon 3-19 Offaly 2-4
Wicklow 1-25 Carlow 1-11
Tipperary 3-20 Antrim 1-17