Derry 0-20 Leitrim 0-16
Derry have been crowned Allianz League Division 4 champions following a four-point win over Leitrim in Croke Park this afternoon.
The Ulster side looked in comfortable control for the majority of the game as they quickly overturned a three-point deficit midway through the first half.
It brings to an end the heartwarming campaign of Leitrim who had qualified for the final with two games to spare after five successive wins.
Here are our quickfire conclusions from the entertaining clash in Croke Park.
1. Leitrim’s Loyal Supporters – Reports from Leitrim during the week suggested that the entire county was going to make it’s way to Croke Park for the Division 4 final and it really was a case of ‘last person out of Leitrim, turn out the lights’. They succeeded in making it a special occasion for the players as they made themselves known from the minute the team ran out onto the pitch.
2. Early Wides Proved Costly – It might have been a case of stage fright but it took Leitrim the guts of 15 minutes to properly settle into this game. They threw away many scoring opportunities, nine in total in the first half and some were very straight forward.
3. Derry Expansive Football – Derry made use of every blade of grass in Croke Park today, dragging their markers out of position. The two corner-forwards, Shane McGuigan and Christopher Bradley repeatedly roamed out to the wings in search of possession, leaving Enda Lynn open in the middle to great effect.
4. The Class Of Ryan O’Rourke – Ryan O’Rourke showed his full range of skills today, from place-kicking to work rate and scores from open play. He worked tirelessly to find and execute the space before bringing the rest of the forward line into play. Late on, it was he who was instigating the Leitrim comeback. Scored this sublime point from play.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 30, 2019
5. Derry Turn On The Style In Seconds – What was particularly impressive about Derry this afternoon was their ability to turn defence into attack almost instantaneously and a large part of that was due to their attacking half-back line with captain, Christopher McKaigue leading by example with numerous thundering runs up through the middle.
6. Worthy Winners- There was a sense in this game, especially in the final 20 minutes, that Derry could have moved up another gear or two if they had needed to. Their use of the ball was much better, they were physically much stronger and they played with a certain shrewdness, especially in the second half.
7. Story Of The Season – Last year we had ‘Newbridge or Nowhere’ and ‘Carlow Rising’ but this Allianz League campaign has been all about the county with a population of just over 30,000 and their promotion from Division 4. They did themselves proud in their first outing in Croke Park since 2006.