We almost shot ourselves in the foot, admits McIver
Derry 0-14 Longford 0-5
DERRY boss Brian McIver praised his side's patience after they eventually wore down the resistance of a dogged Longford team at Celtic Park to put themselves firmly in control of their promotion destiny.
With 58 minutes on the clock, Longford were still within striking distance as their rearguard action saw them trail by just 0-6 to 0-4 but in the closing 12 minutes, the Oak Leafers hit eight late scores to emerge comfortable winners.
"That was always going to be the case, we knew that Longford were fighting for their lives. We know the way they play makes it difficult to break them down," said McIver.
"We almost shot ourselves in the foot in terms of wides and that kept them in the game but we showed that wee bit of patience, hung in there and deservedly won it in the end."
Derry opened the scoring after only 12 seconds through Enda Lynn but then hit five consecutive wides.
Longford punished that profligacy as Francis McGee converted a close-range free. Derry centre-back Mark Lynch showed his forwards how it should be done when he pointed from 50 yards, but the visitors quickly levelled through Bernard McElvaney.
Derry continued to dominate and, while their first-half wide count reached eight, the in-form James Kielt was a class apart, kicking three points.
The second half continued in a similar vein. Derry scored from their first attack as Gerard O'Kane pointed after good work from half-time substitute Raymond Wilkinson.
The hosts continued to spurn chances, however, and a great McElvaney point and a second McCormack free put the visitors back in contention.
Derry went 22 minutes without scoring but the dam finally broke in the 58th minute as Eoin Bradley, Danny Heavron and 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.
McElvaney replied with his third point from play but as the midlanders tired, Derry kicked four more scores through Wilkinson (two), Bradley and Lynn to emerge comfortable winners.
With Louth away and Westmeath at home to come, Derry look well placed to step up to Division 1, while Longford seem bound for the drop.
Man of the match: D McBride (Derry)
SCORERS – Derry: J Kielt 0-4 (1f), E 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 6; G O'Kane 6, C McKaigue7, D McBride 8; C Kielt 6, M Lynch 6, SL McGoldrick 6; P Bradley 6, PJ McCloskey 6; A McAlynn 7, J Kielt 8, E Lynn 6; D Heavron 6, E McGuckin 5, L Kennedy 5. Subs: E Bradley 7 for Kennedy (23), R Wilkinson 7 for McGuckin (h-t), M Bateson 6 for Lynch (48), B Heron 5 for C Kielt (58)
LONGFORD – D Sheridan 6; D Brady 6, B Gilleran 7, F Battrim 6; CP Smyth 7, M Quinn 6, S Mulligan 6; M Brady 5, B McElvaney 7; J Keegan 6, D McElligott 5, A Rowan 5; F McGee 5, D Barden 5, S McCormack 6. Subs: P Foy 5 for McElligott (h-t), JJ Matthews 5 for Rowan (54)
REF – C O'Hagan (Tyrone).