Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup, Section C
Derry 1-20, Ulster University 0-07
Derry will meet Tyrone on Sunday in the McKenna Cup semi-final after registering a facile 16-point victory over the Ulster University at Owenbeg on Wednesday night.
The Oak Leafers finished second in Section C behind the Red Hands but qualified as the best runners-up after Armagh defeated Monaghan at the Athletic Grounds by a point to set up a last four meeting with Donegal who topped Section A.
Requiring a huge points swing and those other results to go their way prior to throw-in, Damian McErlain had named three changes to the started against Fermanagh with Thomas Mallon coming into nets and Chrissy McKaigue and Declan Hughes replacing Christopher Bradley and the injured Ryan Bell.
They were facing an Ulster University including three Derry starters in Oisin Duffin, Jack Doherty and Declan Cassidy with Slaughtneil's Karl McKague named among the Students' substitutes and appearing for the second half.
Sunday's Oak Leaf hat-trick hero, Ben McCarron, was back on the bench but it was evident from early on that Derry would be in no need of an extra ammunition to see off a very disappointing University side.
The first half resembled a training session, Derry dominating the ball and strolling to a 1-07 to no score interval lead. Indeed the clock would read 38 minutes and 30 seconds before the Students eventually dissected the Oak Leaf posts courtesy of half-time substitute Lee Brennan whose subsequent frees were uncharacteristically wayward.
Brennan did tag on a couple of extra points but it was corner forward Lorcan Harney who registered his team's first score from play in the 62nd minute but by that stage Derry had 1-17 on the scoreboard.
The Oak Leafers employed Chrissy McKaigue as a sweepers but the Slaughtneil man will seldom have had an easier outing in the red and white shirt.
Ciaran McFaul was the conductor of most attacking Oak Leaf attacks, his superb passing constantly picking holes in what was admittedly a very porous Student defence.
Derry rolled toward a six point lead thanks to points from Conor McAtamney, Lynn, Bradley (3, 2f) and Padraig Cassidy before Bradley grabbed the game's only goal following a lovely exchange of passes with Cassidy. The Slaughtneil man's fisted return let the Glen player through on the inside right channel from where, Bradley rolled a superb low finish past Tiaran McConville to rub salt into the visitors wounds.
The second half was only only about the margin of victory and whether the University side could break their duck in front of goal. Brennan insured they would and hit a very respectable 0-5 despite those frees which went astray.
It mattered little. The gulf between the sides had been evident from early in the game and the Students' never looked like closing it meaning Damian McErlain and his backroom team are planning for an unexpected second meeting with Tyrone this season.
Derry scorers: Emmett Bradley (1-6, 3f), Conor McAtamney (0-2), Enda Lynn (0-5, 1f), Padraig Cassidy (0-1), Ciaran McFaul (0-2), Ryan Dougan (0-3)
Ulster University scorers: Lee Brennan (0-5, 3f)), Lorcan Harney (0-1), Michael McKernan (0-1)
Derry: Thomas Mallon; Eoghan Concannon, Conor Mulholland, Sean Quinn; Ryan Dougan, Eamon McGill, Jason Rocks; Chrissy McKaigue, Ciaran McFaul; Conor McAtamney, Emmett Bradley, Patrick Coney; Padraig Cassidy, Enda Lynn, Declan Hughes.
(Subs) Mark McGrogan for E Bradley, 42mins; Padraig McGrogan for J Rocks, 50mins; Sean McKeever for E McGill, 51mins; Martin Bradley for D Hughes, 58mins;
Yellow cards: P Coney, 19mins; J Rocks, 23mins; R Dougan, 34mins; E Concannon, 58mins;
Ulster University: Tiarnan McConville; Eoighain Murray, Peter Teague, Oisin Duffin; Pierce Laverty, Michael McKernan, Daire Gallagher; Rory Mullen, Oisin McConvey; Nathan Donnelly, Jack Doherty, Declan Cassidy; Ceilum Doherty, Cormac O'Hagan, Lorcan Harney.
(Subs) Rian Jones for O Duffin (inj), 28mins; Karl McKaigue for P Teague, HT; Dailaigh Jones for E Murray,HT; Josh Connery for O McConvey, HT; Lee Brennan for C O'Hagan, HT; Caolan Donaghy for R Mullen, 56mins (blood sub);
Yellow card: Ceilum Doherty, 21mins;
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).