All-Ireland SFC Round 3
Derry 1-19 Clare 1-13
By Michael McMullan
A POWERFUL opening to the second-half saw Derry book their spot in the quarter-finals as group winners with victory over Clare on Saturday night in Longford.
Ciaran Meenagh’s side now have the luxury of a weekend off as they scan over next weekend’s preliminary quarter-finals.
The times were level four times in the opening half, but Derry hit four wides in a first quarter their controlled.
Shane McGuigan, who hit eight on the night, and goalkeeper Odhrán Lynch fired over Derry points early on.
The Oakleafers controlled the Clare kick-out and led 0-5 to 0-3 before Clare found the net through Emmett McMahon.
It was point for point with the sides going into the break level at 0-9 to 1-6.
Derry started the half with points from Niall Loughlin, Paul Cassidy and a McGuigan free.
Heron slid to the net for a goal to open a 1-12 to 1-7 lead after 48 minutes.
Derry took control of the game in front a vociferous travelling support in the paltry attendance.
Derry: Odhrán Lynch (0-2); Paudi McGrogan, Eoin McEvoy, Conor McCluskey; Gareth McKinless (0-2), Conor Doherty, Padraig Cassidy; Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers; Benny Heron (1-0), Paul Cassidy (0-3), Ethan Doherty (0-1); Ciaran McFaul, Shane McGuigan (0-8, 4f), Niall Loughlin (0-3, 1f)
Subs: Niall Toner for Padraig Cassidy (48), Ben McCarron for C McFaul (57), Shea Downey for B Heron (60), Paul McNeill for C Glass (67), Declan Cassidy for E McEvoy (72)
Yellow card: C Glass (63)
Clare: Stephen Ryan; Ronan Lanigan, Ciaran Russell, Manus Doherty; Alan Sweeney, Pearse Lillis, Cillian Rouine; Cathal O’Connor, Darragh Bohannon (0-1); Daniel Walsh (0-1), Emmet McMahon (1-6, 6f), Jamie Malone (0-3); Brian McNamara, Keelan Sexton, Pádraic Collins
Subs: Michael Garry (0-1) for C Rouine (HT), Aaron Griffin for C O’Connor (52), Ikem Ugweru for A Sweeney (53), M McInerny (0-1) for K Sexton (53), Darren O’Neill for D Bohannon (67)
Yellow cards: C Rouine (30), C O’Connor (40), K Sexton (43),C Russell (56), M Garry (57), D Bohannon (66)
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)