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Everything rosy in the garden for superb Derry

Derry scored an unexpectedly easy win over the Garden County at Celtic Park to get their league campaign off to a good start, all the damage done in the first half when they amassed a comprehensive 18 point advantage.

Wicklow were the first to score when Jonathan O'Neill grabbed the first of his seven points, of which five came from placed balls.

The visitors would add just another point before the break as Derry built a commanding 2-14 to 0-2 half time lead, Derry captain Ruairi Convery scoring the first of his five first half points to level at 0-1 each.

Niall Ferris cracked home the first goal in the 13th minute for a 1-5 to 0-2 lead, Kevin Hinphey kicking the sliothar to the net 10 minutes from half time to go 2-9 to 0-2 ahead.

Wicklow made three changes at the break and showed more appetite for the battle.

Although Derry failed to score for 27 minutes, a superb defence – marshalled powerfully by Paddy Kelly who moved to full back when Conor Quinn retired injured – meant the Oak Leaf County retained control of the outcome.

It was the perfect start for a Derry team that has struggled in recent years against Wicklow.

Manager Ger Rogan said: "You could not ask for anything more. We were just wondering during the first half what had happened, had somebody put a spell on them at the weekend!

"But as good a win as it was we are not going to get carried away. There are still a lot of things for us to work on, in terms of the mistakes that were also made.

"We can find a few things to speak to them about. But isn't it great that, with that kind of performance, you have something to work on."

Derry's win came courtesy of Niall Ferris 1-3, Kevin Hinphey 1-2, Ruairi Convery 0-7, 0-5 frees, Brendan Rodgers 0-2, Alan Grant 0-2, Paul Cleary, Chrissy Convery and Oisin McCloskey with 0-1 each. Wicklow responded through Jonathan O'Neill 0-7, Gavan Weir, Christy Moorhouse and Liam Kennedy with 0-1 each.

Derry: D McDermott; C McSorley, C Quinn, J McCloskey; R McCloskey, L Hinphey, P Kelly; Convery, K Hinphey; B Rodgers, R Convery (capt), A Grant; P Cleary, O McCloskey, N Ferris. Subs: P Henry for C Quinn 21; T McCloskey for P Cleary 57; D McCloskey for C McSorley 59; B Quigley for L Hinphey 61.

Wicklow: J Murphy; S Kinsella, B Cuddihy, P Keane; G Bryne, L Kennedy, G Birmingham; J Henderson, B Osbourne; C Moorhouse, S Byrne, R Keddy; M Lee, A O'Brien J O'Neill. Subs: J Connors for J Henderson ht; Gavin B for B Osbourne ht; G Weir for A O'Brien ht; P Gahan for C Moorhouse 51; E Mason for S Kinsella 55.

Referee: Liam McAuley (Antrim).

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