Brian Og McGilligan, on target for Derry in the defeat of Down at Portaferry.
DERRY hurlers can take a big step towards the semi-finals of the Christy Ring Cup when they face Donegal this weekend.
Victory over their north west rivals, followed by success against arch nemesis on June 1, would represent a great start to manager Brian McAvoy's tenure.
The Oak Leafers got their campaign off to a winning start with a hard-earned 3-20 to 2-14 win over old foes Down at Portaferry.
It was a dominant display from the winners as they went about their business in a professional manner from first minute to last.
Their ability to deal with the elements better than their opponents was also a major factor in their win as the Ardsmen shot ten first half wides with a strong wind at their backs.
Derry, on the other hand, were able to work the ball into the scoring zones to take a half-time lead of ten points, with only two wides to their credit.
Slaughtneil's Cormac O'Doherty led the scoring for Derry, scoring 2-08, 1-01 coming from 65s and six points from frees.
He was ably supported by club colleague Se McGuigan (1-03) with seven others getting their names on the scoresheet.
Derry: Sean Kelly, Conor Kelly, Sean Cassidy, Paddy Kelly, Liam Og Hinphey, Meehaul McGrath, Cian Waldron, Mark McGuigan, Brian Og McGilligan, Paul Cleary, Se McGuigan, Thomas Brady, Richie Mullan, Mark Craig, Cormac O’Doherty.
Subs: Ruaidhri McCartney for Conor Kelly 2 minutes, Gerald Bradley for Thomas Brady Half Time, Tiarnan McHugh for Mark Craig 44 minutes, Naoise Waldron for Liam Og Hinphey 55 minutes, John Mullan for Paul Cleary 58 minutes.
Scorers: Cormac O’Doherty 2-08 (1-01 ‘65’s, 0-06 Frees) Se McGuigan 1-03, Paul Cleary 0-02, Gerald Bradley 0-02, Mark McGuigan 0-01, Richie Mullan 0-01, Brian Og McGilligan 0-01, Mark Craig 0-01, John Mullan 0-01.