But that they will play in the last ever All-Ireland final at the grade Is a testament to how far the entire set-up has come over the last three years under Damian Mc Erlain.
They were underdogs to a Dublin side that had forwards capable of winning any game, not least in James Doran, who kicked six points from play and could have had more.
Derry dominated the opening 15 minutes at Croke Park by virtue of their absolute commitment to relentless pressure on the Dublin kickout.
But they persisted with their bravery and indeed redoubled it.
Padraig Mc Grogan’s yellow card almost proved a blessing in disguise as he was moved off Doran on to Lynch-Bissett, which led to that outball for the Dublin ‘keeper being shut down. They put a power press on at the start of the second half and created three good chances, but took none of them.
It was the platform on which they nosed ahead at half-time.
Doran whistled a blistering 20-yard effort just over Oran Hartin’s crossbar to cut the gap back before the first of a couple of key moments towards the end of the half.