Tyrone make it four from four with victory over Derry
Tyrone 2-15 Derry 0-12
Tyrone made it four wins from four to tighten their grip on the NFL Division Two leadership, easing past neighbours Derry at Healy Park last night.
Kieran McGeary marked his debut with an early point, but Derry, with Emmet Bradley imposing himself on the midfield battle, were soon moving with purpose, Sean Leo McGoldrick and Daniel Heavron working hard to link defence to attack.
Full back Chrissy McKaigie charged forward to land a point, and when Ciaran McFaul was sent through by Gareth McKinless, a goal looked likely, but he opted for less.
The Oak Leafers were moving sweetly, and went 0-4 to 0-2 ahead with a James Kielt score.
But Tyrone had McGeary, Peter Harte and Richie Donnelly among a legion of players committed to run themselves into the ground for the cause, and the assurance and experience of Colm Cavanagh was the platform.
They reeled off five points on the spin, including a delightful Sean Cavanagh effort.
Derry were punished for the difficulties goalkeeper Eoin McNicholl had in nailing his kick-outs, and O’Neill drilled four frees between the posts as they gradually took a grip on the game.
The Oaks went 15 minutes without a score, before Ryan Bell converted a free, but they almost conceded a goal when Colm Cavanagh sent Barry Tierney clear, but McNicholl dashed off his line to save superbly.
What could have been a five points lead was soon cut to one as Derry countered instantly to score through James Kielt.
But the home side finished with three more points before the break, Rickie Donnelly and McGeary both on the mark to give their side a 0-10 to 0-6 interval lead.
O’Neill’s fifth, and first from play, restored the four points cushion, and in the 50th minute, Mickey Harte’s men struck a decisive blow when Tiernan McCann slipped a pass to Sean Cavanagh, who rifled his shot to the top corner of the net.
Tyrone’s running game, epitomised by the flying McCann, was now putting the Oaks under severe pressure, and Conor Meyler’s score put eight between the sides.
Tyrone scorers: S Cavanagh 1-1, A McCrory 1-0, R O’Neill 0-6 (5f), R Donnelly 0-4, K McGeary 0-2, P Harte, C Meyler 0-1 each
Derry scorers: J Kielt 0-3 (2f), C Bradley (1f), R Bell (2f) 0-2 each, D Heavron, C McKaigue, C McFaul, E McGuckin, E Bradley 0-1 each.
Tyrone: N Morgan, A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron, B Tierney, R Brennan, T McCann, C Cavanagh, M Donnelly, K McGeary, P Harte, R Donnelly, C McAliskey, S Cavanagh, R O’Neill.
Subs: C Meyler for Brennan (h-t), J Munroe for Tierney (48), M Bradley for McGeary (48), D McCurry for McAliskey (62), J McMahon for McNamee (65), C McCann for Harte (69).
Derry: E McNicholl, O Duffy, C McKaigue, K McKaigue, G McKinless, B Rogers, M Craig, N Holly, E Bradley, D Heavron, C McFaul, SL McGoldrick, R Bell, E McGuckin, J Kielt.
Subs: R Ferris for Craig (30), C Bradley for Bell (44), C McAtamney for E Bradley (52), C O’Boyle for Kielt (55), S Heavron for K McKaigue (59, BC), B Heron for McGuckin (65)
Referee: D Codrick (Meath).