Derry remain on course for promotion to Allianz Football League Division 1 after the Oak Leafers maintained their perfect 100% record with a nine-point victory over Clare in Cusack Park, Ennis.

The introduction of Gareth McKinless late in the opening half proved the turning point as the Ballinderry player set up Benny Heron's opening goal before helping himself to the second as Rory Gallagher eased away from their hosts with some comfort following a tight first half.

The victory means Derry remain the side to catch and sit top of the table on eight points, one point above Roscommon and two above Galway, though the Tribesmen do have a game in hand and Derry have yet to play both

Gallagher was able to name the same XV that started in last week's victory over Cork and it was a positive start from the Oak Leafers as early points from Paul Cassidy and Oisin McWilliams gave them a two point lead by the second minute.

Derry were struggling to get Shane McGuigan in the game but the Slaughtneil man was being well marshalled by Cillian Brennan but it was a mark of the Oak Leafer's evolution that their 0-06 to 0-05 half-time lead came courtesy of six different scorers. Indeed by full-time 11 different players had registered scores for Derry

Clare employed the dangerous Sexton, who finished with 0-05, and James Malone inside but Derry's biggest problem came through their own mistakes against a fast-breaking Clare counter for whom Aaron Griffin was always a threat.

Those opening two scores were answered by Clare's Griffins who grabbed the home side opener on four minutes but Padraig McGrogan restored Derry's two points advantage inside two minutes.

A Sexton free cut the lead once more before McGuigan answered in kind and Lachlan Murray tagged on a lovely solo score to make it 0-05 to 0-02 after 11 minutes. Derry, however, would go on to score only one more point in the half as Clare enjoyed their best period of the game.

Another Sexton free, this time off the ground, was followed by Niall Loughlin's first of the day, also from a placed ball but it was Clare who finished the stronger with points from Sexton and captain Eoin Cleary.

Clare levelled within one minute of the restart. Darren O'Neill brilliantly took Griffin's pass to stroke over a lovely score but Derry's response was emphatic and McKinless at the centre of it.

First it was his run at the heart of the Clare defence that drew a foul from Cathal O'Connor from which McGuigan tapped over an easy free.

Better was to follow though as from the resulting kick-out, Derry won possession.

The ball was transferred to McKinless who burst forward again to pick out Benny Heron who stepped around Clare keeper Stephen Ryan for his second goal in two weeks and a 1-07.

Cathal O'Connor and McGuigan (free) swapped points before a lovely Emmett Bradley effort and another McGuigan free edged Derry's lead out to 1-10 to 0-07 by the midway point of the half.

McKinless' next involvement was even more decisive as Derry once again won a Clare kick-out, McKinless then going through the gears to open up Clare once more. His attempted pass inside was blocked but the Ballinderry was alert enough to pounce on the loose ball and fire a soccer style finish across Ryan and into the far corner for 2-10 to 0-07.

From there it was game management time though Derry should really have added further goals to their tally and were denied what looked a stone wall penalty for a foot block on Ben McCarron's goal bound shot.

It would have been academic though, the game was long over as a contest as Derry move forward to another away test, this time against Roscommon in two weeks time.

Derry scorers: Benny Heron (1-00), Gareth McKinless (1-00), Shane McGuigan (0-04, 4f), Emmett Bradley (0-02), Paul Cassidy (0-01), Oisin McWilliams (0-01), Padraig McGrogan (0-01), Lachlan Murray (0-01), Niall Loughlin (0-01, 1f), Ethan Doherty (0-01), Ciaran McFaul (0-01).

Clare scorers: Aaron Griffin (0-01), Keelan Sexton (0-05, 3f), Eoin Cleary (0-01, 1f), Darren O'Neill (0-01), Cathal O'Connor (0-01), Emmett McMahon (0-01).

Derry: Odhran Lynch, Chrissy McKaigue, Brendan Rogers, Conor McCluskey, Ethan Doherty, Padraig McGrogan, Conor Doherty, Conor Glass, Emmett Bradley, Paul Cassidy, Niall Loughlin, Oisin McWilliams, Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Lachlan Murray.

Subs: Gareth McKinless for L Murray, 33mins; Ciaran McFaul for O McWilliams, 45mins; Niall Toner for B Heron, 54mins; Matthew Downey for N Loughlin, 59mins; Ben McCarron for E Doherty, 66mins;

Clare: Stephen Ryan, Manus Doherty, Cillian Brennan, Cillian Rouine, Cian O'Dea, Eoghan Collins, Alan Sweeney, Cathal O'Connor, Darren O'Neill, Jamie Malone, Eoin Cleary, Pearse Lillis, Aaron Griffins, Keelan Sexton, David Tubridy.

Subs: Connor Jordan for E Collins, 46mins; David Tubridy for P Collins, 48mins; Emmett McMahon for J Malone, 55mins; Ciaran Downes for A Griffins, 64mins; Dan Keating for D O'Neill, 70mins;

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)