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Red Hands Beaten In McKenna Cup Final
Tyrone 1-5 Derry 3-11
Derry turned on the style in the final quarter at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh on Saturday evening to run out emphatic twelve point winners over Tyrone in the McKenna Cup final.
The Red Hands managed just a single point in the opening half but after trailing by five at the break they had Derry’s advantage wiped out within a dozen minutes of the restart. At that stage it looked like they had all the momentum and would kick on but instead it was Derry who took the game by the scruff of the neck as they outscored Tyrone 3-4 to 0-1 to emerge worthy winners on the night.
Wind assisted Derry were full value for their 0-6 to 0-1 interval advantage after they recovered from a slow opening quarter to take control. Centre half forward Niall Toner opened the scoring in the 5th minute when he blasted over the bar with a goal there for the taking. A patient Tyrone build up resulted in a well taken Liam Nugent equaliser in the 10th minute but that proved to be the only time that the Red Hands were to trouble the umpires in the first half.
Lachlann Murray then showed good strength to kick Derry in front before a Toner free edged them two clear. A Shane McGuigan free then made it a three point game before the same player was denied a goal by a superb save from keeper Benny Gallen. Toner knocked over another point from a placed ball before Gallen came to his side’s rescue again to thwart Murray with Paul Cassidy hitting the rebound wide. Gallen got injured making that save in the 25th minute and he had to be replaced by Niall Morgan. It was all Derry at this stage and while Tyrone posted a couple of wides it was the Oak Leaf County who closed out the half with scores from Murray and Oisin McWilliams.
Tyrone came out for the second half with all guns blazing and after wing half back Niall Devlin had opened the scoring substitute Cathal McShane closed the deficit further. Nine minutes into the second half Tyrone were right back in contention when good approach play from Michael McKernan saw him offload the ball to Darren McCurry who finished in style low to the bottom left hand corner of the net. Morgan then landed a “45” to leave it all square at 1-4 to 0-7 in the 47th minute. The rest of the night though belonged to Derry as Tyrone never got their noses in front.
Midfielder Paul Cassidy put Derry back in front for an advantage that they were never to lose before McGuigan converted a 55th minute penalty after Brendan Rogers had been fouled. That proved to be a decisive moment in the game as Derry upped the tempo while Tyrone’s challenge faded. McCurry did convert a free in response but that proved to be Tyrone’s last score of the game. In the 58th minute Derry sliced open the Tyrone defence for Conor McCluskey to square the ball for Oisin McWilliams to palm the ball t the net from close range.
That looked like the winning score and so it proved as Derry kicked on. Substitute Niall O’Donnell fisted a point while at the other end a goal chance for McShane took a deflection and went just the wrong side of the right hand post. In the closing minutes Derry finished strongly with O’Donnell clinically finishing to the net and that was followed by points from Padraig McGrogan and McGuigan as they won with plenty to spare.
Tyrone: Benny Gallen, Nathan McCarron, Cormac Monroe, Padraig Hampsey, Peter Og McCartan, Michael McKernan, Niall Devlin, Brian Kennedy, Richard Donnelly, Conn Kilpatrick, David Mulgrew, Kieran McGeary, Darren McCurry, Matthew Donnelly, Liam Nugent. Subs: Niall Morgan for Gallen, Peter Harte for Richard Donnelly, Cathal McShane for Mattie Donnelly, Conor Meyler for McCartan, Emmett McNabb for Nugent, Frank Burns for McGeary, Niall Sludden for McCurry
Derry: Odhran Lynch, Eoin McEvoy, Padraig McGrogan, Conor McCluskey, Gareth McKinless, Conor Doherty, Paudie Cassidy, Paul Cassidy, Brendan Rogers, Ben McCarron, Niall Toner, Oisin McWilliams, Benny Heron, Shane McGuigan, Lachlann Murray. Subs: Niall O’Donnell for Murray, Paul McNeill for McWilliams, Mark Doherty for McCarron, Anton Tohill for Benny Heron, Kevin Johnson for McGuigan
Tyrone scorers: Darren McCurry 1-1 (1F), Liam Nugent 0-1, Niall Devlin 0-1, Cathal McShane 0-1, Niall Morgan 0-1 (45)
Derry scorers: Shane McGuigan 1-2 (1F), Niall O’Donnell 1-1, Oisin McWilliams 1-1, Niall Toner 0-3 (2F), Lachlann Murray 0-2, Paul Cassidy 0-1, Padraig McGrogan 0-1
Referee: Conor Dourneen, Cavan