Future looks so rosy for Derry after minor crown
Cavan 2-12 Derry 1-22
The future of football in Derry is in good hands, it would appear.
A second Ulster title in three years and the possibility of an even bigger prize to come has already nurtured fresh buoyancy within a county that has endured its share of travails lately.
No wonder manager Damian McErlain wore a satisfied smile as he assessed a prodigious team effort in the searing Clones sunshine.
"The boys put in a tremendous effort. We might have given away a couple of goals we weren't happy about but we scored some tremendous points. We knew Cavan were a good team but I was delighted with the way we responded to this big challenge," declared McErlain.
His team's defence may have looked vulnerable on occasions and their concentration lapsed at intervals but overall this was a purposeful, energetic Derry performance that bodes well for the future.
Their first half dominance was not necessarily reflected in the 0-14 to 1-7 interval scoreline, James Smith having thundered in Cavan's goal before incurring a black card while Patrick Quigg, Ben McCarron and Lorcan McWilliams had by them forcibly reminded the Breffni defence of the threat they posed.
Derry skipper Padraig McGrogan proved inspirational as he drove his side forward and when McHugh and Cassidy posted further points in the third quarter, it looked as if the Oak Leaf side might canter down the home straight.
But Cavan, whose defensive mechanism was anything but sound before the break, showed considerable resilience and staying power and when Philip Rogers bagged their second goal in the 42nd minute, they were very much back in the frame.
Yet Derry always appeared to have that something extra in reserve literally and metaphorically as their overall spirit and strength on the bench were to prove decisive.
Alex Doherty, Tiarnan McHugh and Fergal Mortimer all scored when ushered into the action while Lorcan McWilliams brought his haul to six points.
It was McCarron's 53rd minute goal that proved a vital element in Derry's victory, though. He certainly enjoyed a rub of the green as the ball trickled over the line, but it was no more than his team's overall effort deserved in a match that underlined the depth of youthful talent currently flourishing on the provincial stage.
DERRY: O Hartin, O McGill, C McCluskey, S McKeever, S McErlain, D Rafferty, C McShane 0-1, P McGrogan 0-1, O McWilliams 0-1 (1f), P Quigg 0-4 (1f), R Mullan, D Cassidy 0-3, B McCarron 1-3, L McWilliams 0-6 (3f), M McGrogan. Subs: T McHugh 0-1 for M McGrogan (h/t), C Brown for Mullan (h/t), A Doherty 0-1 for McGill (40), M Bradley for Cassidy (48), F Mortimer 0-1 for Quigg, C Murphy for McCarron (60).
Cavan: G O'Rourke, E Fortune, P Meade, K Brady, D Cusack, C Timoney, K Hendrick, R Patterson, J Smith 1-0, O Kiernan, C Madden 0-3, P Rogers 1-2, O Pierson 0-4 (2f), P Lynch 0-1, S Keogan. Subs: J Cooke 0-1 for Meade (20), T Reilly 0-1 for Smith (BC 23), P Nulty for Hendrick (20), N McCabe for Keogan (50), C Lynch for Kiernan (52).
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).