The Tyrone minor hurlers proved to be no match for a technically superior Derry unit in this alarmingly one sided Ulster Minor Hurling Championship First Round fixture, at windswept Healy Park in Omagh on Saturday afternoon.
Given the eventual winning margin questions must be raised, as to the validity of such a competition given the gulf in class between the top three and, the chasing pack because neither team will have learned anything from this fixture. Tyrone’s confidence taking a battering in the process, as a dominant Derry outfit eased their way to a demoralising thirty one point victory.
Backboned by the majority of the St Patrick’s Maghera All-Ireland hurling winning side Derry were never troubled by a Tyrone team, who despite battling gamely were simply outplayed, out hurled and out muscled in every sector of the field to such an extent that the result of this game was never in doubt from as early, as the 8th minute, when Brendan Rodgers goaled to give Derry a 1-3 to no score lead despite the fact that they were playing against the wind.
Brian Og McGilligan was a tower of strength at centre half back, while Ryan Farren and Pearse McGrath also succeeded in nullifying the best efforts of a Tyrone attack, that simply wilted out of the game.
Liam Murphy and Michael Taggart lorded the midfield tussle against Tiernan Morgan and Dara Mallon, while up front young Banagher clubman Shane Farren, who was named to start at midfield led the Tyrone defence a merry dance as the visitors powered their way to a match winning 2-6 to 0-0 half time lead. Gerard Bradley with the second goal on 26 minutes. Brendan Rodgers, Oran McFlynn and Dominic Mullan also contributing handsomely to the scoring stakes.
Tyrone deserve credit for battling to the end with Brian McGurk preventing the white wash when he found the target in the 57th minute. Tyrone had several chances early on but having missed them their confidence drained despite some sterling performances from Eamon Duffin, Conor McNally and Ruairi Devlin in defence.
Thomas Lowe and Damian Casey tried to get Tyrone’s attack going throughout but they struggled against a physically stronger Derry team, who added early second half majors via the hurls of Sean Molloy and Shane Farren for a 4-7 to 0-0 advantage after 38 minutes. Tyrone’s disappointing afternoon was compounded, when captain Tiernan Morgan was straight red carded following a scuffle eleven minutes into the second half.
Derry’s Michael Taggart also seeing red following some disgraceful scenes during the same incident. Substitute Oran McFlynn bulging the Tyrone net for the fifth goal, as Derry advanced to a quarterfinal meeting with Down in two weeks time