The Derry senior camogie squad. (Pic: Cathal McOscar)
LITTLEWOODS CAMOGIE LEAGUE DIVISION 2 RELEGATION PLAY-OFF
Derry camogs avoided any further relegation worries after a convincing win over Tipperary in Templeport on Saturday afternoon.
The defeat puts Tipp into a relegation final with Dublin next weekend and leaves Ciaran Cunningham's side looking forward to the championship season.
Elsewhere, Derry's Ulster rivals Antrim and Down both qualified for the League Final leaving the Oakleafers a marker of where they sit in the pecking order.
Eimhear McGuigan fired over from a tight angle early on as Derry hit the ground running early on. Tipperary levelled before Karen Kielt put Derry ahead again and they never looked back.
Clare Gunning was involved in much of the early play and with Megan Kerr launching attacks from midfield, Gunning and Dervla O'Kane had Derry 0-4 to 0-1 in the lead after just five minutes.
Jenny Grace, who kept Tipp in touch during the game, replied with two points, but Derry pushed into a 0-7 to 0-4 lead by the first water break.
Frees from Kielt and captain Aine McAllister saw Derry put daylight between the teams before Tipperary pulled themselves back into the game. First it was a fine point on the run from Claire Hogan before the game's first goal in the 27th minute. Grace was involved and it was Aoife Butler who finished to the net.
Derry were still ahead, 0-9 to 1-5 and hit back immediately. Karen Kielt's long clearance put Gunning through, but she was off target. It was enough to keep Derry on the front foot and when Eimhear McGuigan passed to Mairead McNicholl the Swatragh player weaved her way goalwards before finishing to the net.
Tipp bounced back with a goal straight away. It was a messy one to give away, with goalkeeper Niamh Gribbin missing a long delivery from Deirdre Dunne and in the scramble Derry couldn't prevent the sliotar from crossing the line.
Again there was a response from Derry. Dervla O'Kane passed to Eimhear McGuigan for a score and Aine McAllister added a free before the game's fourth goal. It came Derry's way in a move started by Mairead McNicholl, who linked with Sinead Mellon and eventually it was Aoife Shaw who shot low to the net for a 2-11 to 2-5 interval lead.
Derry put the game out of sight early in the second half in a well-worked move. Aoife Ní Chaiside played the ball from defence to Aine McAllister who sent Clare Gunning off on a run and when she was fouled in the penalty area, Karen Kielt drilled the penalty to the net.
McAllister (4), Aoife Shaw and Dervla O'Kane were all on target as Derry went into the second water break in a commanding lead, 3-17 to 2-6.
Eimhear McGuigan and Sinead Mellon added points as Derry continued to impress. They had a glimmer of a fourth goal, but Mairead McNicholl was unable to convert from Aoife Shaw's pass. It didn't matter, as Derry ran out convincing winners.
DERRY: Niamh Gribben; Sinead McGill, Aoife Ní Chaiside, Roisin Cassidy; Caoimhe Glass, Karen Kielt (1-3, 3f, 1 pen), Clíodhna Ní Mhianáin; Aine McAllister (0-9, 5f), Megan Kerr, Sinead Mellon (0-1), Dervla O'Kane (0-2), Eimhear McGuigan (0-3); Mairead McNicholl (1-1), Aoife Shaw (1-1), Clare Gunning
SUBS: Aine McGill, Shannon Scullion, Emma Wilson, Eimer McErlean, Lauren McKenna
TIPPERARY SCORERS: Jenny Grace (0-5, 1 '45', 3f), Aoife Butler, Deirdre Dunne (1-0 each), Sinead Meagher and Claire Hogan (0-1 each)
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