Ulster SFC: Tyrone too strong for Derry
Ulster Senior Football Championship Preliminary Round
TYRONE 1-19 DERRY 1-13
By Orla Bannon at Healy Park
A six-point victory wasn't an unexpected winning margin for Tyrone, but the manner of it certainly was as Derry made them fight all the way in a decent Ulster SFC opener at Healy Park.
The home side led 0-10 to 0-7 at the end of a fairly tentative opening half with the 10,116 in Omagh still waiting for the game to catch fire.
Tyrone were in control with Cathal McShane benefitting from a more direct, kicking game and landed four points from play in the first half, with Richie Donnelly at the heart of most of Tyrone's attacks.
However Derry stayed in the game which exploded into life with a superb goal by Shane McGuigan.
Enda Lynn's brilliant run drew in a couple of Tyrone defenders and McGuigan ran into the space behind, finishing superbly past Niall Morgan in the 55th minute.
That brought the teams level for the first time at 1-10 to 0-13 and it was game on.
They were level once more but Derry fans really sensed an ambush was on when sub Christopher Bradley got on the end of Brendan Rodgers' pass to put Derry ahead for the first and only time in the game in the 61st minute.
Tyrone, the hottest of pre-match favourites had their backs to the wall, and responded in a way which will have delighted Red Hands boss Mickey Harte.
Within a minute of Derry going in front, Darren McCurry finished to the net – optin for the more difficult finish even though an easy equalising score was up for grabs.
He turned onto his left foot and drilled the ball low inside the near post.
Tyrone outscored Derry 1-5 to 0-1 in the closing stages to reassert their authority on the game and advance to a quarter-final meeting with Antrim on Saturday May 25.
Tyrone mixed it up, but had more success with their long game than their running game.
Peter Harte and Niall Sludden, key men in their running game, were both well held by Karl McKaigue and Paul McNeill respectively, with Sludden taken off early in the second half.
Tyrone led by 0-6 to 0-1 after 18 minutes with McShane and Richie Donnelly wreaking havoc, while Frank Burns had a shot tipped over the bar.
Derry had an early goal chance from Jason Rocks well saved by Morgan while Shane McGuigan top-scored with 1-6 for Division Four champions Derry, who admirably bridged the gap against last year's All-Ireland finalists with a display that should give them great heart going into the All-Ireland qualifiers.
Scorers for Tyrone: Cathal McShane 0-7 (2fs), Peter Harte 0-3 (3fs), Darren McCurry 1-0, Richie Donnelly, Michael Cassidy 0-2 each, Padraig Hampsey, Michael McKernan, Hugh Pat McGeary, Frank Burns, Connor McAliskey 0-1 each
Scorers for Derry: Shane McGuigan 1-6 (5fs), Ryan Bell 0-3 (3f), Christopher Bradley 0-2 (1f), Conor McAtamney, Ciaran McFaul 0-1 each
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Michael McKernan; Michael Cassidy, Ben McDonnell, Tiernan McCann; Richard Donnelly, Brian Kennedy; Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Frank Burns; Cathal McShane, Peter Harte, Hugh Pat McGeary
Subs: Colm Cavanagh for Kennedy (19), Darren McCurry for Sludden (50), Kyle Coney for Cavanagh (57), Rory Brennan for McGeary (59), Connor McAliskey for R Donnelly (63), Liam Rafferty for McKernan (70).
DERRY: Thomas Mallon; Sean F Quinn, Brendan Rodgers, Karl McKaigue; Paul McNeill, Chrissy McKaigue, Niall Keenan; Padraig Cassidy, Conor McAtamney; Liam McGoldrick, Enda Lynn, Ciaran McFaul; Shane McGuigan, Ryan Bell, Jason Rocks
Subs: Emmett Bradley for Quinn (HT), Christopher Bradley for Bell (48), Conor Doherty for Rocks (58), Ruairi Mooney for Lynn (64), Eoghan Concannon for McGoldrick (70), Patrick Coney for Keenan (70).
REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).