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24 Jan 2022

County Derry Post Sporting Review: June

Desertmartin end their 53-year wait for junior title.

County Derry Post Sporting Review: June

Desertmartin celebrate their first junior title in 53 years. Pic by Mary K Burke.

The highlight of the month went to Desertmartin, who finally ended a 53-year famine to seal the 2020 junior championship title with a 1-11 to 1-9 win over Craigbane at Owenbeg.

Cahir O'Kane rocked St Martin's with an early goal, but an own goal levelled up the green flags and Desertmartin withstood a late onslaught to seal the title.

Marty Breen lifts the Joe Brolly Cup.

Manager Kevin O'Neill said the success was reward for the players' efforts.

“You need that [bit of luck] to get over the line. It is great for that bunch of players, because of the work they have put in,” he said.

“To get over the line was the most important thing today.”

The long-awaited return of the Derry football leagues finally arrived in June, while the remnants of the 2020 season continued to be played out.

Lavey clinched last season's U16 A championship with Patrick McGurk starring in a 2-10 to 1-9 win over Dungiven, while Slaughtneil defeated Castledawson in the B1 final.

Desertmartin completed the second part of their 2020 unfinished business by seeing off the St Trea's & St John's combination in the U16 B2 final by 2-17 to 2-8.

The first adult silverware of the season was handed out, with a late goal from Sean McKeever sealing a 1-14 to 2-9 win over Glenullin in the Dr Kerlin Cup final.

Dungiven lift the Dr Kerlin Cup.

In south Derry, Swatragh lifted the Sean Larkin Cup, as goals from Brian Diamond and Conor McAtamney helped them to a 2-14 to 0-15 win over Ballinderry at Loup.

There was a further defeat for the Derry ladies, falling to a rampant third quarter from Louth as the search for a victory continued.

Derry hurlers, however, took a big step towards retaining their Division 2B status with a 3-22 to 3-21 win in an epic shoot out with Donegal in Ballinascreen.

Goals from John Mullan, Sé McGuigan and Brian Cassidy set the stage for a huge Cormac O'Doherty winner as the seconds ticked away.

The side followed up the drama with a facile win at home to Roscommon to confirm their place in next season's Division 2B.

Despite defeats to Antrim and Down, the camógs avoided the drop by defeating Tipperary in the Division 2 relegation play-off in Templeport.

Áine McAllister scored 0-9, with Aoife Shaw, Mairead McNicholl and Karen Kielt adding goals as the Oakleafers eased to a 3-20 to 2-9 victory.

There was joy for the Sky Blues 2010 youth team, who came out on top of a three-way play-off with Portstewart and Clooney to achieve promotion to the top youth football Division in Northern Ireland.

Derry's senior footballers confirmed promotion to Division 2 with a four-point win over Limerick in Carrick-on-Shannon, with Glen's Ciaran McFaul named man of the match.

They followed up the success by defeating Offaly in Croke Park by 0-21 to 1-6 to lift the Division 3 title, capping a superb league campaign by Rory Gallagher's men.

With the club leagues ongoing, Ballinderry reunited their All-Ireland Feile winning squads of 1996/97 in a fundraiser to help pay for club member Kevin McIvor's back surgery.

Suffering with scoliosis, the club set up the match to raise the funds to send him to Turkey to have life-altering surgery.

Derry's minor footballers took the first step on what would be a historic year, defeating Tyrone in the refixed 2020 Ulster semi final by 3-10 to 2-12 in Armagh.

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