It was a strange sort of game in O'Connor Park, Tullamore but with championship looming fast on the horizon, it was no surprise that both teams were going at full tilt.

Their defeat to Down earlier this year meant that promotion was beyond Derry's grasp but their win here, coupled with Down's surprise defeat by Louth, meant that they ended up tied on points – Down joined Cork in Division 2 under the head-to-head rule.

This was definitely not a game for the purists and the first half in particular was quite awful to watch as both sides played very defensively. Derry had first use of a strong wind but still channeled almost every player back every time they lost the ball while Offaly did the same.

Despite that, Derry were very dangerous when they broke forward with Shane McGuigan leading their attack excellently. They were 0-08 to 0-01 ahead after 30 minutes and probably would have been more had they really attacked the home side.

A breakaway 31st-minute goal from Aaron Leavy gave Offaly a badly-needed boost but their joy was short-lived as Derry replied within seconds – Ethan Doherty finished off a great move as Derry led by 1-09 to 1-01 at half-time.

Offaly gave an improved second-half display with Anton Sullivan and Niall McNamee making a massive difference off the bench. Derry were still comfortable as they led by 1-11 to 1-03 after 50 minutes but they got only one more point and Offaly did well to creep back into it.

Even a second yellow card for Offaly wing back Eoin Carroll with ten minutes left didn't disrupt their momentum as they drove on impressively – they got the gap back to two points in injury time but never truly threatened to snatch a win.

Offaly: Paddy Dunican (0-01, 0-01f); Declan Hogan, Eoin Rigney, Niall Darby; Eoin Carroll (0-01), John Moloney, Joe O'Connor; Aaron Leavy (1-00), Jordan Hayes; Shane Horan, Ruari McNamee, Cathal Mangan; Cian Farrell (0-01, 0-01f), Peter Cunningham, Bernard Allen.

Subs: Rory Egan for O'Connor (ht), Anton Sullivan (0-02) for Mangan (ht), Niall McNamee (0-05, 0-04f) for Farrell (48), Conor McNamee for Horan (49), Colm Doyle for Allen (68).

Derry: Odhran Lynch; Conor McCloskey, Brendan Rogers, Paul McNeill; Ethan Doherty (1-01), Christopher McKaigue (0-01), Padraig McGrogan; Ciaran McFaul (0-01), Conor Glass; Danny Tallon (0-02, 0-01f), Enda Lynn (0-02), Padraig Cassidy; Paul Cassidy, Shane McGuigan (0-05, 0-02f), Patrick Kearney.

Subs: Conor Doherty for Kearney (45), Carlus McWilliams for McCluskey (56), Niall Toner for Lynn (60), Michael McEvoy for Cassidy (64), Gavin O'Neill for Glass (67).

Referee: John Ryan (Cork).