ANTRIM 0-13 DERRY 1-18
There were no final day heroics from Antrim as they were relegation to Division 3 on the back of an eight-point loss to Derry.
At Casement Park, Caolan O’Boyle (1-01), Conleith Gilligan (0-03) and Paddy Bradley (0-02) had Derry leading by 1-07 to 0-04 at half-time.
Tomas McCann, Paddy Cunningham and Terry O’Neill tagged on scores for Antrim who had Mark Sweeney and Aaron Douglas sent-off in each half. Derry ended the game without Gilligan who saw red late on.
The Oak Leafers' fifth win of the Allianz Football League campaign was marred by the fact that they missed out on promotion to Division 1 on scoring difference.
They needed a big winning margin at Casement Park and other results to go their way if they were to stand a chance of overhauling Donegal and Laois. But the aforementioned sides secured promotion on a dramatic afternoon in all four divisions.
The home crowd held onto a glimmer of hope for the relegation-threatened Saffrons as they opened well in the first 10 minutes. But they were second best over the remaining hour and Derry should have converted two more goal-scoring chances.
In perfect playing conditions, Tomas McCann kicked Antrim into the lead on two occasions before Derry's forwards found their range. Early wides were forgotten when Conleith Gilligan and Caolan O'Boyle picked off points.
John Brennan's side were let down by some wayward shooting - they hit ten wides in the first half - but two pointed frees from Gilligan and a 17th minute goal from centre-forward O'Boyle sent them on their way.
Martin Donaghy and Paddy Bradley, who was plotting the downfall of his father Liam's side, did well in the build-up to the goal and O'Boyle produced a calm finish. Antrim then had wing forward Mark Sweeney dismissed for his second bookable offence in the 19th minute.
There were further Derry points from Gerard O'Kane and Paddy Bradley, who also missed a glorious chance to nick a second goal for the visitors. Antrim's 17-minute scoreless spell was ended by Paddy Cunningham, who was back from injury, and Terry O'Neill struck their fourth point.
Antrim were missing the services of key defender Tony Scullion, who was injured at work yesterday, but their play improved in the third quarter and a brace of scores from McCann was added to their total.
Derry, however, continued to create a huge amount of scoring chances and points followed from Gilligan and Bradley, who had his goal-bound effort knocked over the crossbar by Antrim goalkeeper Chris Kerr.
Antrim got a sniff of a goal themselves through full-forward Kevin Brady but his shot was blocked on the Derry line by the covering Dermot McBride.
Derry kept the scoreboard ticking over with Gilligan and Bradley scoring 0-06 between them after the break. Eoin Bradley, who returned from suspension, was sprung from the bench and added his name to the scoresheet, along with Michael Bateson and Mark Lynch.
In the third minute of injury-time, referee Padraig Hughes flashed a red card to both Gilligan and Antrim substitute Aaron Douglas as the game ended on a controversial note. The pair were seen tussling off-the-ball but most observers felt that the dismissals were rather harsh and Hughes received boos after the final whistle.
Scorers - Antrim: T McCann, P Cunningham (0-03f) 0-04 each, A Gallagher 0-02, T O'Neill, M Armstrong, M Dougan 0-01 each
Derry: C Gilligan 0-06 (0-04f), P Bradley 0-05, C O'Boyle 1-01, G O'Kane 0-03, M Lynch, M Bateson, E Bradley 0-01 each
ANTRIM: C Kerr; K O'Boyle, R Johnston, M Johnston; C Brady, C Murray, A Healy; S Burke, A Gallagher; T O'Neill, T McCann, M Sweeney; P Cunningham, K Brady, B Neeson.
Subs used: S Finch for Neeson, D Edwards for Burke, M Armstrong for O'Neill, M Dougan for K Brady, A Douglas for K O'Boyle.
DERRY: M Conlon; M Bateson, K McCloy, D McBride; G O'Kane, B McGoldrick, M Donaghy; PJ McCloskey, M Friel; M Lynch, C O'Boyle, C Kielt; SL McGoldrick, P Bradley, C Gilligan.
Subs used: C McGoldrick for Donaghy, E Bradley for Friel, L Moore for O'Boyle, J O'Kane for McCloy, D Mullan for Lynch.
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)