Harte happy as McGrath rues missed chances
Tyrone 0-14 Fermanagh 0-11
On a chilly day in Clones, Tyrone made it to the final of the Dr McKenna Cup once again, to bid for their sixth consecutive title, and what could be the 10th of Mickey Harte's stretch in charge when they face Derry on Saturday.
Fermanagh appeared largely compliant with the accepted narrative of the game until a sparky confrontation between Ernesider Aidan Breen and Tyrone's Padraig Hampsey in the 54th minute finally brought some life into a game that was, well, just plain boring.
Fermanagh went on to hit five of the last six points and were left to rue a spurned goal chance in the first half, when James McMahon squared the ball across the face of goal to Eoin Donnelly, but his contact with the fist was not enough to breach the net.
With a slew of college kids back, Harte offered some context for their tail-off in performance in the final quarter.
"That's three games in a week for these players and you have to factor that in as well," he reasoned.
"It might look nice from the outside there but when you are going through that for 70 minutes three times a week it certainly takes it out of you."
He granted credit to Fermanagh, who perked up when they introduced a number of subs - Daryl Keenan, Cathal Beacom and Sean Quigley - who almost doubled the tally of the first-half display that only brought one point from play.
Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath was left to rue that missed chance from Donnelly, saying: "The bottom line to winning a game against the likes of Tyrone is you have to be converting a high percentage of your scoring opportunities.
"You really do have to, because if you are working hard and get the ball down the field and the ball is kicked wide, it fills their lungs with oxygen and we are deflated."
Scorers - Tyrone: D McCurry (3f) 0-6; P Harte (4f) 0-4; N McKenna, C McShane, L Brennan, M Bradley 0-1 each. Fermanagh: T Corrigan (6f) 0-6; S Quigley (2f) 0-2; P McCusker, A Breen, E Courtney 0-1 each.
Tyrone - M O'Neill; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, T McCann, P Harte; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; D McClure, N Sludden, N McKenna; D McCurry, C McShane, L Brennan. Subs: S Cavanagh for C Cavanagh (31), P Hampsey for McCrory, M Donnelly for Harte (h-t), M Bradley for McKenna (45), C Meyler for C Cavanagh (49), R O'Neill for Brennan (60), C McCullagh for Sludden (69).
Fermanagh - T Tracey; M Jones, C Cullen, C McManus; D McCusker, R McCluskey, P Reihill; L Cullen, E Donnelly; P McCusker, J McMahon, A Breen; B Mulrone, E Courtney, T Corrigan. Subs: D Keenan for McMahon (h-t), McMahon for McCluskey (45), C Beacom for Reihill (51), S Quigley for Courtney (52), T McCaffrey for Mulrone (58).
Ref - Noel Mooney (Cavan).