Derry overcome Westmeath in Division 2 decider
Updated: Sunday, 28 Apr 2013 19:07
Emmett McGuckin goaled in injury-time for Derry as they claimed the Allianz National Football League Division Two title at Croke Park, with a 1-18 to 0-15 victory over Westmeath.
With the game tied after 70 minutes, Brian McIvor's side hit an unanswered 1-03 before the end to claim their first league crown since their 2008 top-flight victory.
In the early stages the occasion and venue seemed to intimidate Westmeath as Derry set about picking them apart with ease.
Westmeath corner-back Kieran Maguire was handed the task of harnessing Eoin Bradley, and in the first quarter he struggled desperately to halt his scoring and play-making abilities.
Sean Leo McGoldrick kicked the opener for Derry in the fourth minute, but Bradley soon got off the mark when he gave Maguire the slip.
Ryan Bell added a free for Brian McIvor's side, before Bradley landed his second – also from a free – in the seventh minute after Maguire resorted to foul means to halt his progress.
The impressive John Heslin got the Lakesmen off the mark with an 11th minute free, but there was no silencing Bradley and he soon kicked a free and a fine point from play to give Derry a 0-06 to 0-02 advantage by the 17th minute.
But that's where the game turned as Westmeath finally figured out how to stop the quality ball into the Derry full-forward line, by gaining the upper hand around the middle.
In the following 12 minutes they went on to kick eight of the next nine points to change a four-point deficit into a three-point lead, as Heslin, Calum McCormack and Ger Egan began to find their range with ease.
Dennis Glennon hit the pick of the points from the right in the 31st minute, but instead of kicking on to the break, it was Derry that regained their composure and two points from James Kielt either side of Raymond Wilkinson's point on the turn sent the sides in level at 0-10 each.
After losing the lively Wilkinson to a knee injury early in the second-half, Derry recovered well and began to gain the upper hand at midfield once again.
But with Eoin Bradley and Colin Devlin missing chances they failed to pull away from Pat Flanagan's side.
Points from Benny Heron, Kielt and Ciaran McFaul gave Derry a two point lead, but with substitute Dessie Dolan showing his class with three fine points from play, it was left to McGuckin to hit the insurance goal in injury-time to seal Derry's win.
Derry: E McNicholl; A McAlynn, C McKaigue, G O'Kane (0-01); C Kielt, M Lynch, SL McGoldrick (0-01); P Bradley, R Bell (0-02, 0-01f); D Heavron (0-01), J Kielt (0-04), E Lynn (0-01); B Heron (0-01, 0-01'45), E Bradley (0-04, 0-02f), R Wilkinson (0-01).
Subs used: C Devlin for Wilkinson (42 mins), C McFaul (0-01) for Eoin Bradley (58), E McGuckin (1-01) for Heavron (58), L Kennedy for Heron (74).
Westmeath: G Connaughton; M McCallon, J Gaffey, K Maguire; D Harte, P Sharry, J Dolan; D Duffy, J Heslin (0-05, 0-04f); G Egan (0-02), C McCormack (0-02), K Martin; D Cooroon, C Curley (0-01), D Glennon (0-02).
Subs used: Dessie Dolan (0-03) for Martin (52 mins), K Gavin for McCallon (67), Damien Dolan for Cooroon (69).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).