Fitzsimmons seals final spot
Down 2-12, Derry 1-9
DOWN did just enough to overcome Derry, but the Mournemen will have to make vast improvements if they are to have any hope against Antrim in the final.
Conor Fitzsimmons registered the first score on eight minutes and he proved to be the man of the match, scoring five points from play. Cormac O'Doherty scored six for Derry, five of which came from the dead ball but the full-forward also missed some relatively easy scoring opportunities.
Down had a one-point lead at half-time but the game changed when substitute Ryan McCusker scored the game's first goal on 41 minutes and Fitzimmons then put six between the sides.
Conor Costello kicked another over the line and though Derry got a goal of their own, through Paddy Bradley, it proved to be too little too late.
SCORERS – Down: C Fitzsimmons 0-5, R McCusker 1-1, C Costello 1-0, E Sands 0-3,P Óg McCrickard 0-2fs, C Egan 0-1f. Derry: C O'Doherty 0-6 (5fs), P Bradley 1-0, N McCallion, M McGuigan, M Mulgrew.
DOWN – S Savage; B Byers, C Taggart, M Patterson; C Costello, PJ McComiskey, PJ Davidson; C Egan, C Fay; R Courtney, R Campbell, L Savage; C Fitzsimmons, E Sands, J Murphy.
Subs: R McCusker for J Murphy (h-t), P Óg McCrickard for R Courtney (41), J Doran for C Fay (56).
DERRY – C O'Donnell; E McGill, E Shaw, B Douban; C McGurk, G Farren, N O'Neill; J Bradley, N McCallion; M McGuigan, D Foley, M Mulgrew; A Duddy, C O'Doherty, P Bradley.
Subs: J O'Dwyer for D Foley (28) T McCloskey for B Doubhan (34), B Laverty for M Mulgrew, T O'Kane for P Bradley.
Ref – L McAuley (Antrim)