Harte relief as wasteful Derry fail to exploit Tyrone frailties at the back
Tyrone 2-13 Derry 1-13
Tyrone lived dangerously, but survived to keep their bid for a third successive Dr McKenna Cup title alive.
They coughed up half a dozen goal chances at Healy Park, but opponents Derry were sadly lacking a ruthless streak and managed to convert just one of them.
The Red Hands led from start to finish after a devastating opening that saw them go five clear after just three minutes, but their defensive frailties will cause some concern for manager Mickey Harte as he prepares for a repeat fixture in the NFL opener at Celtic Park.
His side does have one more competitive game in the meantime, however, Saturday's McKenna Cup decider against Cavan at Brewster Park.
In the end, Tyrone's greater efficiency in front of the posts helped them through a stiff test in front of 4,840 spectators.
"We opened very well, and looked to be coasting, but Derry had other ideas. They pulled themselves back into the game and probably dominated the exchanges," said Harte.
"Across the whole 70 minutes, they probably had more scoring opportunities than we had, but they just weren't too good in front of goals.
"If they had been a bit better, especially in the first half, then it would have been a different result."
Tyrone crafted a superb goal after just 15 seconds, which Niall McKenna finished to the net, before moving into a seven-point lead.
Derry didn't get their opening score until the 16th minute when Ciaran McGoldrick found the target, but they got on top in the final 10 minutes of the opening half.
The Red Hands led by 1-6 to 0-5 at the interval and grabbed their second goal seven minutes into the second half, when Peter Harte slotted home a penalty.
But Derry battled back and after missing a host of goal chances, they finally claimed a three-pointer in the 64th minute through Emmet McGuckin to narrow Tyrone's lead to three points.
Both sides were reduced to 14 men when Derry's Patsy Bradley and Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly were both black-carded, with all 12 subs having been used.
SCORERS -- Tyrone: N McKenna 1-1, P Harte 1-0 (pen), D McCurry 0-6 (3fs), C McAliskey 0-3, C Grugan, E McKenna, PJ Lavery 0-1 each. Derry: E McGuckin 1-0, F Doherty, J Kielt (1f) 0-3 each, C McGoldrick, G O'Kane 0-2 each, D Mullan, M Lynch, B Heron (f) 0-1 each.
TYRONE -- M O'Neill; R McKenna, C Clarke, R McNamee; T McCann, P Harte, R McNabb; N McKenna, C Grugan; K Gallagher, P Hughes, E McKenna; D McCurry, M Donnelly, C McAliskey. Subs: B Tierney for McNamee (13), C McGinley for McCann (h-t), McNamee for McNabb (h-t), PJ Lavery for McNamee (61), R O'Neill for McAliskey (63).
DERRY -- T Mallon; O Duffy, D McBride, M McShane; C Kielt, M Craig, K Johnston; F Doherty, N Holly; G O'Kane, E McGuckin, SL McGoldrick; C McGoldrick, D Mullan, A Kerrigan. Subs: B Heron for McShane (h-t), A McAlynn for Craig (43), M Lynch for Holly (48), J Kielt for C McGoldrick (49), P Bradley for Doherty (59), C McFaul for O'Kane (64).
REF -- S McLaughlin (Donegal)