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COUNTY| Title Number 14 For Tyrone.

Sunday 24.01.2016
Team Talk Mag
Club


Tyrone 1-22 Derry 1-17 (AET)

Tyrone made it five titles in a row defeating Derry following a hugely competitive Dr McKenna Cup final at the Athletic Grounds Armagh after extra time on Saturday night.

A late, late penalty conversion from Darren McCurry sealed the victory as the Red Hands showed considerable resolve to fight back from five points down at one stage and three points behind as the clock turned seventy minutes.

Those three quick fire points in added time at the end of a compelling second half left the sides tied at 0-15 to 1-12 before Mickey Harte’s young guns put their neighbours to the sword in front of a crowd of 7,143.

Derry lost midfielder Brendan Rogers to a knock right at the throw in but his replacement Conor Mc Atamney, who had an outstanding game for Damien Barton’s team, pushed forward to create his team’s opening score off the boot of James Kielt.

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In spite of playing with the aid of a strong breeze Tyrone struggled to make use of the elements and Derry’s excellent defensive system and counter attacking game began to pay dividends. Enda Lynn was causing the Tyrone defence all sorts of problems and with Ryan Bell and Cailean O’Boyle showing well Derry began to dominate. A goal from a penalty rebound extended the Oak Leaf lead to five before Ronan O’Neill reduced the gap with a converted free just on half time.

Mickey Harte made three changes at the break and almost immediately Tyrone began to benefit. Connor McAliskey narrowed the gap with a couple of frees, but Derry replied with a brace of their own to maintain their lead. It was at this stage that Conor Meyler made his presence felt. Running from deep he repeatedly carried the game to Derry. His strong direct style of running had the Oak Leafers in all sorts of bother as along with Niall Sludden they set about reducing the gap.

Dromore man Sludden fired over a couple of superb points to level it with ten minutes remaining but scores from Lynn and Conor Kearns eased the Derry nerves.

With the tension rising and pride at stake tempers flared and Tyrone had two men sent off. Cathal McCarron went on a straight red and Ronan McNamee walked after a second booking. Derry’s Daniel McKinless also received his marching orders following a second yellow.

With time running out and three points down Tyrone’s young guns really stepped up to the plate coming back from what seemed an impossible position to force extra time. That man Meyler scored two fine points before McCurry levelled from a free in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

The Red Hands now had momentum and although Derry began extra time with the first two scores Mickey Harte’s players were full of running as Tyrone responded with six in a row to lead 0-21 to 1-14 at the interval.

Derry looked out on their feet but raised themselves once again at the restart but the loss of Enda Lynn to injury ended their challenge. Tyrone were playing with confidence and McCurry’s late penalty goal sealed a memorable win and title number five in a row.

Tyrone have now drawn level with Monaghan at the top of the roll of honour with Saturday night’s win making it fourteen Dr Mc Kenna Cup titles in total.

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