Derry prove too strong for Longford
Updated: Saturday, 16 Mar 2013 21:09
Derry dominated the closing stages of this Allianz NFL Division 2 tie as they registered a 0-14 to 0-05 victory over Longford at Celtic Park.
Late points from Raymond Wilkinson, Eoin Bradley and Enda Lynne helped Brian McIver’s men maintain their promotion chase.
They led by 0-05 to 0-02 after a lacklustre first half, the best moments being two James Kielt scores.
There was only two points between the sides with 20 minutes left, but McIver’s men kicked on with Longford tiring.
Derry were the better side throughout the game as they bravely threw their half-back line high up the pitch to try and counteract Longford's blanket defence.
Early on the home side were creating chances by virtue of good early ball to their two man full-forward line, but Derry's finishing let them down as they tried to build a lead.
13 times over the 70 minutes they kicked wide of Damien Sheridan's posts, making it a tougher encounter than their dominance should have allowed it to be.
Enda Lynn opened the scoring - and finished it, capping a fine performance - but after 10 minutes the scoreboard read 0-01 apiece courtesy of a superb score from Longford's best forward, Bernard McElvaney.
He was to land three brilliant efforts from play, but the fact that Dermot McBride had his partner-in-crime Sean McCormack so well marshalled after his 2-04 haul last weekend did not help the visitors.
They were still well in the game at half-time, trailing by just three at 0-05 to 0-02, by which time Eoin Bradley was into the Derry attack.
The gap was narrower still by almost the midway point of the second half, when Glenn Ryan's side pulled themselves back to within two at 0-06 to 0-04.
But with their counter-attacking game taking its toll on the Longford legs, Derry started to find space up front.
Raymond Wilkinson made a good impact as a substitute, landing two points, while Eoin Bradley finished with three to his name.
Derry hit eight of the game's last nine points as they kept themselves in the hunt on a night when Louth and Laois also recorded important victories in the division.
DERRY: E McNicholl; G O'Kane (0-01), C McKaigue, D McBride; C Kielt, M Lynch (0-01), SL McGoldrick; Patsy Bradley, PJ McCloskey; A McAlynn, J Kielt (0-04, 0-01f), E Lynn (0-02); D Heavron (0-01), E McGuckin, L Kennedy.
Subs used: E Bradley (0-03, 0-02f) for Kennedy (23 mins), R Wilkinson (0-02) for McGuckin (half-time), M Bateson for Lynch (43), B Heron for C Kielt (56), Philip Bradley for McCloskey (68).
LONGFORD: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; C Smyth, F Battrim, S Mulligan; M Brady, J Keegan; B McElvaney (0-03), D McElligot, A Rowan; F McGee, D Barden, S McCormack (0-02, 0-02f).
Subs used: P Foy for McElligot (half-time), JJ Matthews for Rowan (54 mins), JP Reilly for Barden (59), S Doyle for Smyth (66).
Referee: Cathal O'Hagan (Tyrone)