Derry remain unbeaten and Leitrim return to winning ways in today's Allianz action

Derry and Leitrim ended the group stages on a winning note, ahead of their Allianz Football League Division 4 Final next weekend.

Derry remain unbeaten and Leitrim return to winning ways in today's Allianz action

Derry and Leitrim ended the group stages on a winning note, ahead of their Allianz Football League Division 4 Final next weekend.

In a high-scoring encounter in Bellaghy, Derry led by nine points at half-time, but were pushed hard by Wexford in the second half, before recording a 3-21 to 4-16 win.

Derry failed to trail this game, with a ninth Ryan Bell score pushing the hosts eight points clear in the 61st minute.

However, two quick goals from Barry O'Connor and Ben Brosnan left this game on a knife-edge late on.

The Oak Leafers were quick off the blocks, with early scores from Bell and Enda Lynn handing them a 0-2 to 0-0 lead inside the opening 90 seconds.

Daithi Waters and Jonathan Bealin helped draw the tie level after seven minutes, before a flood of scores.

The net was rattled four times between the ninth and 14th minutes, with Derry grabbing an early hat-trick, including the opening goal of the contest.

Benny Heron palmed to the net, after Lynn was involved in the build-up, in a spell which saw his side score 2-2 unanswered.

Bell and Heron followed up with points, before Lynn turned finisher, after Niall Toner played in a quick free.

At the opposite end Brosnan grabbed the first of his two goals to ensure a 2-4 to 1-2 score-line, but Derry quickly responded as Ryan Dougan raised Derry's third green flag.

Quick scores from Heron and Bell opened up a 3-6 to 1-2 lead on 15 minutes.

The sides twice traded points, before a trio of unanswered Wexford scores cut the gap to seven points.

Jonathan Bealin, Brosnan and Kevin O'Grady kept Wexford in touch, but Derry finished the half strongly.

Wexford worked hard on the restart through Bealin, with Kevin O'Grady converting a 39th minute penalty.

Derry were reduced to 14 men after defender Conor Mulholland picked up a red card in the 56th minute, and despite the hosts grabbing three of the next four scores, Wexford began to dig in.

A James Cash point kick-started a spell which saw the visitors score 2-1 unanswered, with O'Connor and Brosnan registering goals in quick succession to cut the gap to the minimum.

Sammy Bradley and Jonathan Bealin swapped points, with at least three minutes injury-time to follow, but Derry held out to complete the group stages unbeaten, with Conor Doherty grabbing a late insurance score.

Leitrim got back to winning ways, with a 1-20 to 2-9 home win over Waterford at Avantcard Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada.

Terry Hyland's charges were more resourceful in front of the posts, particularly in the first half, where they delivered a good supply of ball in their attack, and reaped dividends up front.

Waterford came into this game seeking their fourth win on the bounce, and finished strongly, outscoring their opponents by 2-4 to 0-7 in the second half.

The hosts looked more convincing before the interval, and were full value for their 1-13 to 0-5 half-time lead, with Ryan O'Rourke scoring their goal.

The Fenagh St. Caillins clubman found the net in the 26th minute, after good work by Evan Sweeney in the build-up.

This kick-started a strong spell from the hosts, who added four points unanswered before the break, with Shane Moran, O'Rourke, Sweeney and Emlyn Mulligan on target.

Waterford pushed for a goal before the break, but Cathal McCrann blocked Conor Murray's effort late in the half.

Leitrim keeper McCrann was instrumental for his side throughout, and denied Dylan Guiry one-on-one in a low-scoring third quarter.

Waterford were keen in the second half, and pushed forward, with half-time substitute JJ Hutchinson kicking three second half scores.

Dylan Guiry breached the Leitrim rear-guard, after an initial save by McCrann to leave the score at 1-16 to 1-8 in the final quarter.

Waterford lost defender James McGrath to a black card soon-after, with Leitrim pressing forward towards the end, with scores from substitute Niall Brady, Mulligan and defender Ray Mulvey.

The visitors gained some consolation late on, with Michael Curry cutting in for their second goal.

However, this was the game's last act, as Leitrim claimed a deserved eight-point win.

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