The accuracy of attacking trio Paul Cleary, Ruairi Convery and Paddy Henry, who nailed a combined total of 18 points, proved the difference in the end as they recovered from the concession of goals to Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnson and James Coyle.
Going into the final 10 minutes, Derry led by 0-21 to 2-10, after Convery drove over a 95-metre free, and while Down pulled back scores through Johnston and Coyle, there was to be no denying Tom McClean’s men as they booked a place in the final for the first time.
R Convery 0-7 (4f), P Cleary 0-6, P Henry 0-5 (4f), A Grant 0-3, P McCloskey, A Rafferty 0-1 each.
G Johnson 1-5 (0-3f), J Coyle 1-1, S Dineen 0-2, F Conwa$y, M Ennis, D McManus, S Nicholson 0-1 each.
D McDermott, M Warnock, C Quinn, S McCullagh, A Rafferty, C McSorley, K Hinphey, S McGuigan, B Quigley, P McCloskey, P Cleary, P Henry, A Kelly, R Convery, A Grant.
J O’Dwyer for Kelly (53), L Hinphey for Quigley (58), N Ferris for McCloskey (64), D Flanagan for Kelly (64), R McCloskey for Warnock (71)
S Keith, M Conlan, P Flynn, M Hughes, D McManus, C Woods, M McCullough, D Hughes, F Conway, M Ennis, D Toner, S Dineen, C Egan, G Johnson, J Coyle.
J McManus for Egan (18), S Nicholson for Hughes (h-t), B Nicholson for Woods (53), P Sheehan for Toner (59), E Sands for Coyle (64)
O Elliot (Antrim).