Devlin double puts Antrim to sword
Two goals from Aaron Devlin in a three-minute first-half spell proved crucial as Derry overcame Antrim at Casement Park.
Until Devlin's two-goal salvo, Antrim had looked the better side and led by 0-3 to no score after eight minutes. Then Devlin was gifted the ball by Antrim defender Fionnbarr O'Neill and had the easiest of tap-ins to level matters on 10 minutes.
A Conor Kearns free put Derry into the lead for the first time, before Devlin's recorded his second green flag, when cleverly chipping the Saffron netminder Kylan Allsopp.
On 29 minutes Ryan Dougan's shot was deflected by O'Neill and the ball rocketed to the roof of the Antrim net to leave Derry 3-3 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
Sub Aidan McKeown bagged Antrim's goal on 47 minutes, but a comeback never looked on the cards.
SCORERS – Derry: A Devlin 2-1, C Spiers 1-4 (1f), R Dougan 1-1, R Bell 0-3, C Kearns 0-2f, R Moore 0-1. Antrim: A McKeown 1-1, B Bradley 0-3 (2fs), O Gallagher, J Carron 0-2 each, N McKenna 0-1.
Derry – C Bradley; G McKinless, P Quinn, D Brown; K McKeague, C McAtamney, J Morgan; R O'Kane, R Dougan; C Kearns, R Bell, C McFaul; D McKinless, A Devlin, C Spiers. Subs: R Moore for O'Kane, M McCloskey for Dougan, F Bell for McKinless, K Conway for Kearns.
Antrim – K Allsopp; F O'Neill, M Johnson, C Hamill; D Stranney, D Lynch, N Delargy; C Sheerin, J Carron; O Gallagher, S Tully, P McBride; R Murray, C Duffin, B Bradley. Subs: N McKenna for Tully, M McGarry for O'Neill, A McKeown for Duffin, M Jordan for McBride, A Taylor for Murray.
REF – M McNally (Monaghan).