Thirteen man Derry finished stronger to maintain their 100% record at the top of Division 4 of the Allianz National Football League.
Played in front of an attendance of just 233 at Fraher Field it was a strong finish by the Oak Leaf men despite their numerical disadvantage that ensured Damian McErlain’s men returned to Ulster with full points.
Derry dominated possession in the opening minutes but struggled to breakdown the home defence.
Emmet Bradley converted a free after four minutes to finally open the scoring. Waterford who had the benefit of an opening period breeze soaked up much of the Derry men’s pressure before attacking on the break.
With 11 minutes on the clock one such break finished with Conor Murray placing Sean Whelan-Barrett behind the Derry cover to goal from close range, 1-00 to 0-01.
Conor Murray who was most impressive for the Benji Whelan-managed home side in the first half added two more points from play with Fearghal Ó Cuirrín, Jason Curry and Jack Mullaney also finding their range to put Waterford 1-05 to 0-04 ahead approaching the break.
Derry responded to the challenge with Shane McGuigan first landing a point and then hitting the net following Christopher Bradley’s defence splitting pass to level the game 1-05 apiece at half-time.
The sides were level three times in the third quarter before two excellent points from substitute Conor McAtamney and Christopher Bradley nudged Derry a point ahead, 1-09 to 0-08 after 62 minutes.
Referee Seamus Mulhare dismissed Jason Rocks and Conor McAtamney, both for second bookable offenses, within a minute of each other leaving the visitors down to thirteen men and only a single point advantage on the scoreboard.
Ironically the sending-offs preceded Derry’s best spell with corner back Paul McNeill finishing a break away to the net on 67 minutes while McGuigan and Enda Lynn also registered late points for the winners.
Derry now sit top of the table on full points after three games while Waterford are alone at the opposite end of the table.
Derry: Thomas Mallon, Paul McNeill (1-00), Brendan Rogers, Niall Keenan, Karl McKaigue (0-01), Michael McEvoy, Eamon McGill, Christopher McKaigue, Emmet Bradley (0-02f), Padraig Cassidy, Ciaran McFaul, Jason Rocks, Niall Toner (0-01), Shane McGuigan (1-03), Christopher Bradley (0-03, 0-01f).
Subs used: Conor McAtamney (0-01) for Michael McEvoy (56), Enda Lynn (0-01) for Emmet Bradley (59), Patrick Coney for Christopher Bradley and Conor Mulholland for Niall Keenan (both 73).
Waterford: Aaron Beresford, Aidan Trihy, Ray O’Ceallaigh, James McGrath, Sean O’Donovan, Shane Ryan , Brian Looby, Shane Aherne, Tommy Prendergast, Jack Mullaney (0-01), Conor Murray (0-02), Sean Whelan-Barrett (1-01), Fearghal Ó Cuirrín (0-01), Jason Curry (0-02f), Michael Curry.
Subs used: Kieran Power for Tommy Prendergast and Jason Gleeson (0-01) for Fearghal Ó Cuirrín (both ht), Donie Fitzgerald for Aidan Trihy (60), David Hallihan for Jason Gleeson (66).
Leitrim’s revival continued with their third win from three in the basement division, a last minute Domhnaill Flynn free seeing them beat Antrim 0-14 to 1-10 at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.
The visitors got off to a great start, Ryan Murray getting an early goal to see them into a 1-01 to 0-02 lead in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Antrim led by three, 1-06 to 0-06 at the break following a first-half that featured no less than seven minutes of stoppage time.
Leitrim got back on terms and the lead changed hands near the end, with Flynn having the decisive say to move his team back to the top of the table on scoring difference over Derry.
Wexford’s miserable start to the season continued as they lost to London in Ruislip, the Exiles climbing off the foot of the table and above the Yellow Bellies.
London, managed by former Wexford player Ciaran Deeley, got their first win of the season on a 2-11 to 0-8 scoreline, both of their goals coming in the final ten minutes, including a brilliant team effort finished by Killian Butler.
Goals from Theo Smith and Chris O’Brien, along with a smart late stop from goalkeeper Mark Jackson helped Wicklow to a 2-08 to 1-06 win over Limerick.
This win brings them level on points alongside Limerick in the table and to the edge of the promotion picture behind Leitrim and Derry.