gaelic football

Derry's Thomas Mallon saves a shot from Mayo's Lee Keegan
Derry's Thomas Mallon saves a shot from Mayo's Lee Keegan

Derry secured their passage to the 2014 Allianz Football League final with a stunning two-point win over Mayo at Croke Park on Sunday.

The Oak Leafers will face Dublin in the top tier final for the first time since 2009 when they lost to Kerry.

In a very tight game, Derry were forced to play from the 24th minute on with just 14 men after the dismissal of midfielder Fergal Doherty for second yellow card offence, shortly after Andy Moran had goaled for Mayo.

Having moved into a good position with a 14th minute Cailean O’Boyle goal, Derry looked in trouble when they were dealt that double blow.

However, with Mark Lynch sending over some wonderful scores, they in fact led by 1-8 to 1-7 at the break.

Mayo moved ahead after the break and could have had a second when Donal Vaughan was foiled by a super save by Derry goalkeeper Thomas Mallon in the 50th minute.

Derry hit back with a goal almost immediately, Kevin Johnston finishing after a super run from Seán Leo McGoldrick.

Enda Lynn moved Derry a point clear in the 67th minute and then Lynch completed his masterclass with a late score, bringing his haul for the day to 0-9.

Mayo had a late chance to draw level, but Andy Moran smashed a shot from a free over the bar.

Derry defender Chrissy McKaigue was refusing to carried away after the game.

“This is really the first year that we stepped the training up,” said McKaigue.

“Mayo and Dublin have set the standards in terms of fitness.

“We’re just trying to get there so definitely it’s very encouraging but we’re well aware that it’s very early in the year yet.

“When you look at the league, every team wanted to consolidate their place because of how competitive it was.”