Leitrim Fall To Derry in Final Dress Rehearsal

Leitrim suffered their first defeat of 2019 as Derry recorded a 2-16 to 1-12 victory in the division four final dress rehearsal.

Derry had led by one point at half time before showing real quality to lead by 11 points with 15 minutes remaining.

Gary Plunkett’s late goal prompted a Leitrim rally but it was too little too late as Shane McGuifan’s late goal ended the game as a contest.

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Leitrim’s Darragh Rooney opened the scoring after just 33 seconds from a mark with Derry’s Christopher Bradley replying with a free.

But another Rooney mark led to a second point, another foul on Lynn saw Shane McGuigan tap over to level the scores on nine minutes.

Bradley put the home side in front for the first time on 11 minutes with a free, they went further ahead with a massive McGuigan free from in front of the stand.

Leitrim fought back with a free from Emlyn Mulligan followed quickly by a Shane Moran score to tie the scores after 15 minutes.

Moran edged Leitrim back in front on 17 minutes, Derry levelled with their first score from play 25 minutes when Niall Keenan scored.

Leitrim hit back with Fergal McTague’s first ever point for the senior team, a massive effort from 45 yards to regain the lead.

Bradley edged Derry in front again but a third mark for Darragh Rooney tied the scores. McGuigan tapped over from a mark to restore Derry’s lead. Derry led eight points to seven at half-time.

Five minutes into the second half, Derry stretched their lead with a point from Conor McAtamney and Derry started to put some daylight between them when Chris Bradley put a side-line free to go three up.

Bradley and McGuigan both scored good points to increase their lead to five points ten minutes into the second half.

McGuigan killed off whatever Leitrim hope had when a high ball into the area found the Derry man unmarked and he fired in to an empty net on 49 minutes.

Conor Doherty tapped over from an offensive mark before McAtamney landed his second and Michael McEvoy.

Leitrim got a badly needed boost when Gary Plunkett finished to the net on 55 minutes to cut the Derry lead to eight points, a score quickly followed an Emlyn Mulligan point.

Derry settled themselves with another from Bradley.

Cillian McGloin scored a great point on the break before, in the space of a minute, Shane Quinn and Domhnaill Flynn both pointed to cut the gap to five points with eight minutes to go.

Shane McGuigan pounced for his second goal despite the best efforts of Cathal McCrann to reopen an eight point gap with five minutes remaining.

Conor Cullen was introduced for his first start of the year as the game petered out, Flynn hitting his second since coming on from a free to leave Derry seven point winners.