Derry promoted as Louth stun Rebels late on to stay in the race

March 19, 2023

Louth's Ryan Burns with Tommy Walsh of Cork ©INPHO/Ciaran Culligan

Derry ensured their promotion to Division 1 with a round remaining in the Allianz Football League thanks to an emphatic 0-14 to 0-4 win against Clare in Owenbeg this afternoon.

Rory Gallagher’s men laid down a marker early on and never looked back, cruising towards a dominant 0-9 to 0-0 lead at half-time.

It’d be the 43rd minute before Pearse Lillis finally got Clare off the mark and scores at the other end from Gareth McKinless and Shane McGuigan pushed the Banner men further adrift as the Oak Leafers sealed their return to the topflight division for next year.

The Ulster champions now await either Dublin or Louth in the Division 2 final at Croke Park, after the latter recorded a surprise win over Cork in Ardee this afternoon.

The 1-10 to 0-10 victory marks the Wee County’s first over the Rebels in 66 years and it was Ryan Burns’s goal from a rebounded penalty five minutes before half-time which ended being the difference between the sides.

Minus the services of injured ace attacker Sam Mulroy, Mickey Harte’s charges didn’t lead in the contest until Ciaran Downey’s point in the 62nd minute and the scores of Tommy Durnin and Downey (free) ensured the famous win.

Louth now get set to head for Croke Park next Sunday to take on Dublin knowing that another upset would see them promoted and into the Division 2 decider at the capital men’s expense.

Meanwhile, Kildare secured their status in Division 2 for next year by seeing off Limerick on a 3-10 to 2-7 scoreline at the TUS Gaelic Grounds this evening.

Glenn Ryan’s men were 0-4 to 0-2 up when Kevin Flynn struck in their first goal on 20 minutes and it sent them towards a 1-6 to 0-4 half-time advantage.

Cillian Fahy registered a 55th minute goal for the hosts that made it a three-point game but Jack Robinson responded in kind for the Lilywhites and they’d raise another green flag towards the finish through Darragh Kirwan to cement the win.

The result confirmed that both Limerick and Clare will be playing their league football in Division 3 in 2024.

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