McKeever's strike puts Derry minors on canvas
DOWN 3-10 DERRY 0-14
A dream start helped Down to victory over Derry at Celtic Park.
The Mournemen scored two goals in less than a minute, hitting the net in both the fifth and sixth minutes, giving them a healthy lead they never relinquished.
Derry goalkeeper Ciaran McCloy had a 60 seconds to forget.
Firstly, a free from Cory Quinn dropped short and the 'keeper looked to have secured possession but had the ball dislodged from his hands and Conor Doyle fisted it into the net.
His poor kickout straight from the first goal fell into Down hands and skipper Donal McKeever popped up from defence to drill the ball across McCloy into the far corner of the net.
Derry had some good performances. Danny Tallon, one of their Hogan Cup-winning contingent from St Pat's Maghera, kicked three second-half points, while Niall Loughlin hit 0-7 over the hour, including five points after the break.
However, Pete McGrath's Down were the physically superior side, a big team with strong runners all over the park.
Midfielder Aaron McClements was particularly impressive in setting up scores for their lively full-forward line which hit 1-8 from play between them during the game.
The early two-goal salvo was still the difference between the teams at half-time, with Down leading by 2-5 to 0-5 at the break.
Derry fared a little better in the second half with the breeze behind them and hit four points in a row at one stage to close the deficit. But they were too porous at the back.
Sean McGonigle, Conor McGrady and Cory Quinn picked off scores before sub Pat Havern's composed finish grabbed Down's third goal in the 58th minute.
Scorers - Down: C Doyle, D McKeever 1-1 each, C McGrady 0-4, C Quinn 0-3, P Havern 1-0, S McGonigle 0-1. Derry: N Loughlin 0-7 (5fs), D Tallon 0-3, D Breen, S O'Hara, T O'Brien, N Toner 0-1 each.
DOWN – R Malone; R Magee, K Colgan, A Fegan; D McKeever, D McCarthy, T McInerney; T Grimley, A McClements; S Dobbin, S McGonigle, D McAleenan; C Doyle, C McGrady, C Quinn. Subs: P Havern for Dobbin (42), P O'Hagan for Doyle (52), L McGreevy for McGonigle (60).
DERRY – C McCloy; P McNeill, D Hughes, O Hegarty; P McIlroy, C O'Doherty, C Mulholland; C Cassidy, J Bradley; D Breen, S O'Hara, D McGuigan; N Toner, N Loughlin, D Tallon. Subs: T O'Brien for McGuigan (18), P McAtamney for Bradley (h-t), R McElwee for Breen (46), P Gunning for O'Doherty (59).
REF – N Cullen (Fermanagh)