Derry resisted a battling second half fight-back from Louth to win out 2-14 to 1-12 in Drogheda as their quest for promotion from Division 2 continues.
Shane Lennon dispatched a second-minute penalty for the hosts, but in an explosive start James Kielt’s fifth-minute penalty edged Derry ahead.
The Oak Leafers dominated the remainder of the half and despite Louth coming back strongly in the second period, a late goal from Benny Heron sealed the away victory.
With barely a minute on the clock, the home side had won and converted a penalty following a foul on Louth forward Ciaran Byrne. Lennon duly sent the ball high into the roof of the net.
James Kielt got Derry moving with a neatly-taken free after four minutes, and it got even better for the visitors a minute later when Louth's Derek Crilly was adjudged to have pushed over Raymond Wilkinson in the square. Kielt put away the penalty to give his side a one-point lead.
The game was finely balanced just two minutes later when Crilly reprieved himself for that penalty foul with a great score from the right. Yet, a Derry onslaught followed with four unanswered points in the space of four minutes.
The home crowd had something to cheer about when Lennon converted a 12-metre free in the 16th minute.
That three-point margin for Derry was extended further when Lee Kennedy tapped over an easy free with the strong breeze in his favour. As the game descended into an attritional battle, Louth began to fight back in the face of the Derry attacks.
Kevin Rogers and Lennon closed the Derry lead to just two with nine minutes to go before the break. But the visitors finished the first half on a high as three points from Eoin Bradley, Kennedy and James Kielt left them five ahead at the interval - 1-09 to 1-04.
With the wind against them, Derry surprised the home side by scoring two quick points in the opening two minutes, to push their advantage to seven points.
It was that man again, Lennon, who kept the Wee County in touch with a free after six minutes of the second half.
First half substitute Eoin Bradley was the focal point for most of Derry's attacks and scored a free two minutes later.
From then on the home side laid siege to the Derry rearguard, and despite the sending-off of Mark Brennan Louth fired over seven points without reply to level the clash.
Yet, two more frees from Bradley relieved the pressure and when substitute Heron found himself one-on-one with Neil Gallagher in the Louth goal he made no mistake to earn a vital win for Brian McIver's side.
LOUTH: Neil Gallagher; Padraig Rath, Dessie Finnegan, Gerard Hoey; John O'Brien, Derek Crilly (0-01), Adrian Reid; Ronan Carroll, Brian Donnelly; Andy McDonnell, Mark Bennan, Brian White (0-02, 0-01f); Ciaran Byrne (0-01), Shane Lennon (1-05, 1-00 pen, 0-04f), Kevin Rogers (0-01, 0-01f).
Subs used: Derek Maguire for Hoey (35 mins), Conor Rafferty (0-01) for Carroll (48), Darren Clarke (0-01) for Rogers (53), Jim McEneaney for Byrne (64).
DERRY: Eoin McNicholl; Aidan McAlynn, Christy McKaigue, Carlus McWilliams; Charlie Kielt, Gerard O'Kane (0-02), Sean Leo McGoldrick; Patsy Bradley, PJ McCloskey; Michael Bateson, James Kielt (1-03, 1-00, 0-03f), Enda Lynn (0-02); Daniel Heavron, Lee Kennedy (0-03, 0-01f), Raymond Wilkinson.
Subs used: Eoin Bradley (0-04, 0-04f) for Bateson (20 mins), Benny Heron (1-00) for Kennedy (56), Declan Browne for Williams (60), Colin Devlin for Wilkinson (70).
Referee: Martin Higgins (Fermanagh).