Monday 18 December 2017

Bradley delight as Derry signal intent

Derry 1-18
Tyrone 1-12

Derry turned over a misfiring Tyrone team at Celtic Park to launch their bid to reach a third successive NFL final.

In the absence of Paddy Bradley, manager Damien Cassidy was delighted to see his side rack up a big scoreline in front of a crowd of 6,000.

James Kielt is proving a vital asset with his accurate long-range free-kicking while Raymond Wilkinson's second-half goal left Tyrone with an impossible task.

Eoin Bradley, who chipped in with four points, said the Oak Leafers had something to prove following last summer's Ulster Championship capitulation to the Red Hands.

"It was a derby game and we were looking to win it. I suppose we were looking to set down a marker after last year in the championship, when Tyrone beat us easy enough up in Casement Park," he said.

"I think a lot of boys had something to prove, and we as a team had something to prove. In saying that, it's only the league, but it's a good start. I'd say now the main thing is to avoid relegation."

But he wouldn't be averse to another appearance in a league final come April. "You'd want as many games as possible leading up to the championship, for a run of players, bringing players in, giving players game time, that's what it's for."

Mickey Harte pointed to his side's poor finishing in the first half when as many as nine shots dropped short.

"We didn't really convert our supremacy into scores. I think the statistics will tell us we had eight or maybe nine dropped short in the first half, when we had a bit of supremacy."

Derry trailed 10 minutes before the break by 0-5 to 0-4 but, by the half-way stage, they had recovered to lead by 0-9 to 0-6, and held the upper hand from then, with skipper Gerard O'Kane a driving force at full-back.

Kielt, Bradley and lively substitute Declan Mullan all tagged on scores, and it was Mullan who drove long into the danger area for Wilkinson to scramble home a 57th-minute goal.

Suddenly a yawning nine-point gap separated the sides, but Tyrone fought back for Colm Cavanagh to turn Eoin McCusker's cross into the net 10 minutes from the end. They got the deficit down to four, but Derry had more in reserve, and Bradley and Kielt finished the job off at the other end.

Scorers -- Derry: R Wilkinson 1-2; J Kielt 0-6 (6f); E Bradley 0-4 (2f, 1 '45); M Lynch 0-2; C Kielt, G O'Kane, D Mullan, A McCartney 0-1 each. Tyrone: C Cavanagh 1-0; T McGuigan 0-5 (3f); M Penrose 0-4 (3f); K Coney, A Cassidy, E McCusker 0-1 each.

Derry -- B Gillis; B Og McAlary, G O'Kane, D McBride; C Kielt, M Lynch, L Hinphey; F Doherty, P Bradley; C O'Boyle, J Kielt, A McCartney; S Bradley, E Bradley, R Wilkinson. Subs: D Mullan for O'Boyle (32 mins), B Mullan for S Bradley (48), J Diver for P Bradley (53), E Lynn for McCartney (67), B McGuigan for Wilkinson (68).

Tyrone -- J Curran; M Swift, Justin McMahon, Joe McMahon; D Carlin, C Gormley, R McNabb; A Cassidy, K Hughes; K Coney, B McGuigan, E McGinley; C Cavanagh, M Penrose T McGuigan. Subs: E McCusker for Coney (47), S O'Neill for McNabb (47), R McMenamin for Justin McMahon (47), D Harte for Swift (64).

Ref -- P McEnaney (Monaghan).

Irish Independent

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