Down 3-19 Derry 1-09, Casement Park
Down bossed the second half of this Ulster SHC quarter-final to run out 16-point winners over Derry at Casement Park.
The result sees Gerard Monan’s charges through to the last four of the provincial Championship where they will face Armagh, the conquerors of Monaghan, on Sunday, June 12.
The winners of that game, which will be played at Casement Park, will face Antrim in the June 26 decider.
Down, who have lost the last four Ulster finals to Antrim, fell behind this afternoon to an early point from Derry’s Ruairi Convery.
The Oak Leafers were hoping to make use of a wind advantage in the first half, but goals from the twin threats of Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnson (3 minutes) and Paul Braniff (7) edged Down in front.
The Mourne men built a 2-07 to 1-06 half-time lead, with Alan Grant netting for Derry after Down goalkeeper Graham Clarke had saved Paddy Henry’s initial shot.
Monan’s team were knocked out of the Christy Ring Cup by Kerry last weekend and they seemed keen to banish memories of that narrow defeat.
Braniff, who turned in a man-of-the-match display at the Belfast venue, helped them dominate proceedings after the break. The talismanic full-forward led the scoring with 1-10.
Corner forward James Coyle swept home Down’s third goal late on to stretch the winning margin, with Derry manager Ger Rogan admitting afterwards that his side ‘didn’t turn up.’