Derry claim their first Division 4 football title

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Derry 0-20 Leitrim 0-16

Shane McGuigan helped fire Derry to their first Allianz Football League Division 4 title, at Croke Park this afternoon.

The Slaughtneil clubman registered six points, including five second-half scores, on the way to silverware, in a game where just four of Derry’s points came from placed balls.

Leitrim were making their first appearance at Croke Park since the 2006 Tommy Murphy Cup Final, and were eager to get going from the off.

Terry Hyland’s charges led by 0-7 to 0-4 after 23 minutes, but amassed nine first-half wides, as Derry’s more clinical shot selection helped ensure honours for the Oak Leaf County.

Wind assisted Leitrim opened the scoring through Dean McGovern, with the sides twice trading scores in the opening minutes, until a second Ryan Bell point gave Derry a 0-3 to 0-2 lead on five minutes.

Leitrim fired their third wide, before four scores in a row, including two Ryan O’Rourke efforts handed his side a 0-6 to 0-3 lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Christopher Bradley registered Derry’s first score for 16 minutes, but Ray Mulvey responded with an excellent point for Leitrim, after his side worked the ball well out of defence.

The Connacht outfit were held scoreless for the remainder of the half, as Derry proved more effective.

Lynn, Bell and McGuigan added scores, before Mark Plunkett kicked Leitrim’s ninth wide of the half.

Derry finished the half strongly, with two fine Emmet Bradley scores, including a fisted effort, to end the half with a 0-10 to 0-7 interval advantage.

Damian McErlain’s charges were dominant under their own kick-out’s in the opening half, and continued to look good on the restart, despite conceding the first score.

Emlyn Mulligan claimed Leitrim’s first score of the half 30 seconds after the restart, before their keeper Cathal McCrann was forced to make a block, after an Emmet Bradley goal shot.

The sides twice swapped scores before the 42nd minute, before Derry drove on with four unanswered points.

McGuigan’s fourth score of the half helped his side to a 0-16 to 0-10 lead, before a Mark Plunkett point ended an 11-minute scoreless spell for Leitrim.

This was quickly cancelled out with a Chrissy McKaigue effort, and while Leitrim worked hard in the closing quarter, Derry held that extra edge, and held out for a four-point win and silverware.

DERRY: T Mallon; K McKaigue, B Rogers, P McNeill; M McEvoy, C McKaigue (0-2); N Keenan; E Bradley (0-2) C McAtamney; P Cassidy (0-1), E Lynn (0-3), C Doherty; S McGuigan (0-6, 1m, 1f), R Bell (0-4, 1f), C Bradley (0-1, 1f). Subs: B Heron for Lynn (50); N Toner (0-1) for Bell (50); J Rocks for Doherty (59); E McGill for K McKaigue (64); R Dougan for Bradley (71).

LEITRIM: C McCrann; A Flynn, M McWeeney (0-1), P Maguire (0-1); R Mulvey (0-1); S McWeeney, C McGloin; M Plunkett (0-1), S Moran (0-1); S Quinn, R O’Rourke (0-6, 4f), D McGovern (0-1); D Flynn (0-1, 1f), E Mulligan (0-1), E Sweeney (0-2, 1m). Subs: P Dolan for McGloin (33); D Rooney for Mulligan (44); D Moran for S Moran (50); C Reynolds for A Flynn (61); J Heslin for D Flynn (65).

REFEREE: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

In the final game in Division Three earlier, Westmeath drew with Louth in Drogheda 1-10 to 2-7.

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