Friday 16 November 2018

Mickey Harte's Tyrone impress as they march into Ulster semi-final

Tyrone 0-22 Derry 0-11

Niall Sludden of Tyrone is tackled by Conor McAtamney of Derry
Niall Sludden of Tyrone is tackled by Conor McAtamney of Derry
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

The 11-point margin was the same as 12 months ago but Tyrone were asked some more searching questions this time in Celtic Park as eased into an Ulster semi-final against Donegal.

Unlike last year at least this game was still somewhat interesting into the second half as the home side clipped back a five-point interval lead to three points after 40 minutes.

But it was a false dawn as Tyrone asserted themselves to win by double scores, seven of their 22 scores coming off the bench as players like Darren McCurry, Lee Brennan, David Mulgrew and Declan McClure made real impacts. 

Tyrone thrived on pulling numbers deep into their own territory and inviting Derry to come and pick holes in them which, inevitably they couldn't.

In the end their will to keep pressing and probing wilted, the move fractured and Tyrone's lightning counterattacking game kicked in.

Their team is designed to play this way. Niall Sludden, Mattie Donnelly and now Conal McCann, 'man of the match' on his debut here, are adept ball carriers and as they swept forward they found space more easily than their opponents throughout.

Sean Cavanagh hit five points from frees in the opening half, winning frees for two and eventually finished with seven before retiring for Brennan with applause ringing in his ears from the 10,017 crowd.

By the 13th minute Tyrone were 0-5 to 0-0 clear. Eventually, Niall Loughlin kicked a point and Derry did get a foothold for the remainder of the half when they trailed by 0-10 to 0-5.

Enda Lynn of Derry is tackled by Conall McCann, left, and Kieran McGeary of Tyrone
Enda Lynn of Derry is tackled by Conall McCann, left, and Kieran McGeary of Tyrone

Tyrone might have had a goal when Aidan McRory was put through in the 42nd minute but Ben McKinless saved smartly before Niall Keenan cleared off his line for a 45 which Peter Harte converted.

They saw out the game comfortably with their bench giving them real impetus.

Scorers - Tyrone: S Cavanagh 0-7 (6fs), D McCurry 0-3, C McCann, P Harte (1f, 1 45), L Breennan (1f) 0-2 each, M Bradley, T McCann, R Brennan, D McClure, C Cavanagh, D Mulgrew all 0-1 each.

Derry: N Loughlin 0-3 (2fs), C McFaul, N Keenan, C McWilliams, E Lynn, D Heavron (f), B Heron (f), S McGuigan (f) all 0-1 each.

Tyrone: N Morgan; A McRory, R McNamee, R Brennan; T McCann, P Hampsey, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C McCann; M Donnelly, N Sludden, C Meyler; M Bradley, S Cavanagh, K McGeary. Subs: F Burns for McGeary (29), R McNabb for Meyler (h-t), D McCurry for Bradley (51), D Mulgrew for Burns BC) (56), D McClure for Sludden (61), L Brennan for S Cavanagh (63)

Derry: B McKinless; N Keenan, B Rogers, K McKaigue; C McFaul, C McKaigue, C McWilliams; C McAtamney, D Heavron; E Lynn, R Nell, N Loughlin; D Tallon, E McGuckin, B Heron. Subs: M Lynch for Bell (47), S McGuigan for Tallon (57), M McEvoy for McGuckian (63), G O'Neill for Heron (63), C Nevin for McAtamney (67).

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

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