Derry finish with a flourish
Derry 0-14 Longford 0-5
Derry kicked eight points in the closing 12 minutes at Celtic Park last night to eventually see of the resistance of a stubborn but ultimately outgunned Longford side.
For almost an hour the visitors had stayed in the game, but an hour of putting out fires all over the field eventually took its toll as Brian McIver's side stayed on course for promotion with what turned into a comfortable win.
The Oak Leaf men opened the scoring after only 12 seconds when Charlie Kielt's diagonal ball put Enda Lynn into space, but despite dominating possession and territory they failed to add to their total, kicking five wides.
Longford punished that profligacy as Francis McGee converted from close-range free. Derry centre-back Mark Lynch showed his forwards how it should be done when he pointed from 50 yards, but Longford quickly levelled through Bernard McElvaney.
Derry continued to dominate and James Kielt was a class apart, adding three further points.
That left Derry 0-5 to 0-2 clear at the interval but a three-point margin was a scant reflection of the Ulster side's first-half superiority.
The second half continued in a similar vein. Derry scored from their first attack but continued to spurn chances. A great McElvaney point and a second Sean McCormack free saw the visitors back in contention.
Derry went 22 minutes without bothering the scorers but the damn finally broke in the 58th minute as Eoin Bradley (two frees), Danny Heavron and James Kielt kicked four points in as many minutes to see the Oak Leafers lead by 0-10 to 0-5 with nine minutes to go.
Derry kicked four more scores in the closing minutes through Wilkinson (2), Bradley and Lynn to emerge easy winners.
Scorers – Derry: J Kielt 0-4 (1f), Eoin Bradley 0-3 (1f), R Wilkinson, E Lynn 0-2 each, D Heavron, G O'Kane, M Lynch 0-1 each. Longford: B McElvaney 0-3, S McCormack 0-2 (2f).
Derry: E McNicholl; G O'Kane, C McKaigue, D McBride; C Kielt, M Lynch, SL McGoldrick; P Bradley, PJ McCloskey; A McAlynn, J Kielt, E Lynn; D Heavron, E McGuckin, L Kennedy. Subs: E Bradley for Kennedy (23), R Wilkinson for McGuckin (h-t), M Bateson for Lynch (48), B Heron for C Kielt (58).
Longford: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, F Battrim; CP Smyth, M Quinn, S Mulligan; M Brady, B McElvaney; J Keegan, D McElligott, A Rowan; F McGee, D Barden, S McCormack. Subs: P Foy for McElligott (h-t), JJ Matthews for Rowan (54).
Referee: C O'Hagan (Tyrone).