Derry’s double Ulster Champions now focus on All Ireland glory

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Derry’s Gaelic Footballers have set their sights on a second ever Sam Maguire after they retained their Ulster title in dramatic fashion last month.

The Oak Leafers were pushed all the way to extra time and a penalty shootout by Armagh in the provincial decider in Clones.

Derry finished the game on 1-15 to Armagh’s 0-18 after extra time and Derry goalkeeper Odhran Lynch was the hero in the shootout as he made three saves to allow Ciaran McFaul to stroke home the winning penalty.

They are now contesting a place in the All Ireland semi-finals at Croke Park through the group stages where a draw against Monaghan in Celtic Park was followed up with an impressive win over neighbours Donegal at Ballybofey.

Their place in the semis will be determined by their final group game against Clare in Longford next week where they will start as favourites after comfortably dispatching the Banner county in the quarter final stages last summer.

Derry have won just one All Ireland title in their history, back in 1993, but the high level of their performances this year has raised hopes that they can at least go a step further than their All Ireland semi-final loss to Galway last summer.

It is proving to be a vintage period for local sport following Derry City’s FAI Cup triumph over Shelbourne in the Aviva last November.

Ruaidhri Higgins’ side are currently riding high in the League of Ireland Premier Division and, at the time of writing, lie second behind Shamrock Rovers in the table as the season approaches the half way point.

Their runners up finish in last season’s league has qualified them for this year’s Europa Conference League and fans will be hopeful of a favourable outcome when the draw is made next month.

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