A point from substitute Jerome Trainor grabbed a draw for Down in the Guinness Ulster Senior hurling semi-final at Casement Park.
The two teams must return to the Belfast venue next Saturday to decide the issue.
The final result of Derry 1-9 to 0-12 was just about right as both teams, far from their best, showed commitment but totted up a string of wides when aided by the wind.
Despite a lot of possession up front Down were rather fortunate to be ahead 0-7 to 1-3 at the break.
With the wind in their tails the Mournemen were off targtet nine times and three of their seven points came from placed balls.
The standard of play was poor also with players seemingly unable to get power behind the ball.
Two points by Johnny McGrattan left Down ahead by 0-2 to 0-1 after nine minutes but Derry, in a rare raid, struck for a goal on 23 minutes, after a 14 minutes' spell of no scoring. A long ball from defence by the eager Ronan McCloskey found John O'Dwyer inside and the former Tipperary under-21 player ghosted past a couple of defenders to slam the ball home.
Ollie Collins added a point from a free but Down finished the half the stronger with four points to just one in reply.
Substitute Paddy Coulter was just on the field when he grabbed the lead for Down with a superb point from far out on the sideline to leave his team 0-7 to 1-3 ahead at the break.
The teams were level three times in the second period but it was only in the closing minutes that the game really sprang to life.
Geoffrey McGonigle levelled the argument on 59 minutes and Ollie Collie cut a brilliant sideline over the bar to give Derry the lead.
Ger Adair levelled with five minutes left and when McGonigle hit a Derry point Paddy Monan answered.
Collins again cut the ball from 40 metres over the Down bar right on time but in a final flurry sub Jerome Trainor grabbed the equaliser to send the teams into a reply.
DERRY - K Stevenson; E McKeever, G Brunton, R Lynch; A McCloskey, C McEldowney, B Ward; Greg Biggs, R McCloskey; Gary Biggs, O Collins (0-4), R Kennedy; M Collins, G McGonigle (0-4), J O'Dwyer (1-1). Subs: D Magill for Gary Briggs (61).
DOWN - Graham Clarke; L Clarke, S Murray, S Wilson; Gabriel Clarke, G Savage, T Coulter; P Monan (0-1), G Gordon; G McGrattan (0-1), M Braniff, M Coulter, P Braniff, J McGrattan (0-5), N Sands (0-1). Sub: P Coulter (0-1) for M Coulter (34); G Adair (0-1) for P Braniff (41); E Trainor for J McGrattan (50); J Trainor (0-1) for M Coulter (58).
REFEREE - P Neary (Kilkenny).