Superb Sligo recovery sends Derry down in thriller contest
Sligo 3-11 Derry 2-12
Ten years ago Derry were winning the Division One title and now they are looking at a stretch in Division Four for 2019 after yesterday's relegation at the hands of Sligo at Markievicz Park.
Sligo, who were themselves facing the drop had they lost on their home patch, conjured a stunning second-half recovery via two goals in a four-minute spell.
Team captain Kevin McDonnell and Patrick O'Connor, whose excellent finish was the pick of this game's five goals, netted to put Sligo in front, 3-9 to 2-11, with nine minutes of normal time left.
Prior to Sligo's resurgence, one that began when Liam Gaughan scored the first of their three second-half goals after 46 minutes, it looked like Derry were on course for survival.
A 57th-minute goal from the influential Shane McGuigan, who came on after 10 minutes for the injured Benny Heron, and first-half goalscorer Conor McAtamney's point left Derry four points clear, 2-10 to 1-9.
Sligo, 1-4 to 0-5 down at half-time, looked in trouble but they unleashed their best spell of the campaign to turn things around.
Sligo's bright opening, when they led 0-3 to 0-1 after 18 minutes, was later cancelled out by Derry's dominant spell that was sparked by Conor McAtamney's 23rd minute goal.
Scorers - Sligo: L Gaughan 1-3 (3f); P O'Connor 1-1; K McDonnell 1-0; A Marren 0-3 (3f); N Murphy 0-2; S Carrabine, A Devaney (1f) 0-1 each.
Derry: S McGuigan 1-2; C McAtamney 1-1; E Bradley 0-4 (3f); M Lynch 0-3 (2f); N Toner, M Bateson 0-1 each.
Sligo - A Devaney 7; R Donovan 7, L Nicholson 5, C Harrison 6; C Breheny 7, A McIntyre 7, G O'Kelly-Lynch 6; K McDonnell 6, N Murphy 6; N Ewing 7, P O'Connor 8, L Gaughan 7; K Cawley 6, P Hughes 6, A Marren 6. Subs: E McHugh 6 for Nicholson (35), S Carrabine 6 for Hughes (49).
Derry - B McKinless 6; M Bateson 6, K Johnston 6, C McCluskey 6; K McKaigue 6, C McWilliams 6, P Hagan; C McAtamney 7, E Bradley 7; E Lynn 6, B Heron 4, P Cassidy 5; P MacGrogan 5, M Lynch 7, N Toner 6. Subs: S McGuigan 8 for Heron (15), J Doherty 5 for Lynn (46), J Kielt for Toner (67), L McGoldrick for Bateson (67), T O'Brien for Bradley (67, bc)
Ref - P Maguire (Longford)