Their task was made all the easier as Down were reduced to 14 players on 14 minutes when corner-forward Conor Mageean received a straight red card for an incident off the ball.
Down’s Paul Braniff kept his side within touching distance as he struck 1-8.
Scorers for Derry: P Henry 1-10 (0-10f); O McCloskey; R Convery 0-3 each, S Farren 0-2, B Quigley, L Hinphey 0-1 each.
Scorers for Down: P Braniff 1-8 (1-8f); D Toner 0-3; E Clarke 0-2 (2 65); F Conway 0-1.
DERRY: O Doherty; M Warnock, C Quinn, J McCloskey; A McCloskey, L Hinphey, R McCloskey; O McCloskey, P Kelly; P Henry, P McCloskey, A Grant; C Gilmore, R Convery , S. Farren.
Subs: K Hinphey for Warnock (30); B Quigley for Gilmore (34); L Craig for Kelly (60).
DOWN: S Keith; P Smyth, S Ennis, J Smyth; F Conway (0-1), C Woods, M Ennis; E Clarke, L Morgan; A O’Prey, K McGarry, P Sheehan; D Toner, P Braniff, C Mageean.
Subs: A Savage for L Morgan (24); M Cunningham for A O’Prey (45); P Keith for K McGarry (45); D Hughes for P Sheehan (58); C Teague for F Conway (58).
Referee: O Elliott (Antrim).