Derry . . . . . . . . 2-12
Tyrone . . . . . . . 2-11
DESPITE Derry having led by eight points at half-time, Tyrone battled back in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh, last night but the ‘Red Hands’ fell short by a single point in a thrilling Dr. McKenna Cup Final.
The Oak Leafers fended off a remarkable second half performance from Tyrone to run out worthy winners in the end.
Derry registered the first score of the game in the third minute when the ball fell kindly to half-forward Martin Donaghy on the left. The former St. Columb’s College pupil kept his composure to score from an acute angle.
The in-form Sean Leo McGoldrick scored from an almost identical position in the 9th minute when he raced clear with the ball on the left and pointed with his right foot between the posts.
Two frees from Derry’s Enda Muldoon and Paddy Bradley in the 10th and 12th minutes respectively gave John Brennan’s men an early four point lead.
The Red Hands eventually registered a score when a free-kick was lofted towards the Derry goal in the 13th minute. Sean Cavanagh climbed high above the Derry defenders and turned well to kick the ball between the posts.
After Tyrone’s PJ McCloskey conceded a free in the 21st minute, Paddy Bradley stepped up to guide the ball over the bar from a comfortable central position. The Glenullin corner forward added his third score with a yet another free in the 25th minute after his brother, Eoin, was fouled just in front of the Tyrone goal.
Paddy Bradley was fouled by three Tyrone defenders in the 33rd minute when they bustled the former All-Star to the ground. Bradley converted the resulting free from 13 yards out.
Tyrone’s only other score of the half came courtesy of a Sean Cavanagh free in the 27th minute.
Derry extended their lead to eight points just before half time when Sean Leo McGoldrick played a ball over the top to Enda Muldoon. McGoldrick’s pass was inch perfect as Muldoon was able to slap the ball past Pascal McConnell from close range.
Tyrone started to chisel away at the Derry lead immediately after the restart. Points from Martin Penrose, Owen Mulligan and a free from Sean Cavanagh reduced the Oak Leafers’ considerable lead to five points.
Whatever Mickey Harte said to his Tyrone players at half-time obviously worked; Sean Cavanagh found the back of the Derry net in the 43rd minute.
Derry were in complete shock after Cavanagh’s goal and Tyrone’s comeback was almost complete when they reduced the game to a one point score when Owen Mulligan scored his second point of the game in the 45th minute.
The sides drew level in the 50th minute as Tyrone continued with their Jekyll and Hyde performance when Martin Penrose converted a free kick after Davey Harte was fouled in front of the Derry goal.
Tyrone took the lead for the first team when Sean Cavanagh converted a free in the 52nd minute but they were immediately pegged back when Derry corner back Ciaran Mullan scored a goal from only yards out in the 56th minute.
Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh and Derry’s Paddy Bradley exchanged scores in the 59th and 61st minutes respectively to leave Derry with a two point lead.
Derry had a man sent off in the 67th minute when Martin Donaghy received a second yellow card.
Scores from brothers Eoin and Paddy Bradley and Ciaran Mullan restored a five point lead for Derry towards the end but when the referee signalled for seven minutes injury time it appeared to breathe new life into Tyrone.
Substitute Stephen O’Neill brought Tyrone to within touching distance of Derry in injury time when he scored Tyrone’s second goal but despite a late point from Martin Penrose, Derry held on to win by a point.
DERRY - Danny Devlin; Ciaran Mullan (1-1), Kevin McCloy, Dermot McBride; Brian McCallion, Aidan McAlynn; Gerard O’Kane; P. J. McCloskey, James Conway; Martin Donaghy (0-1), Sean Leo McGoldrick (0-1), Eoin Bradley (0-1); Ciaran McGoldrick, Paddy Bradley (0-6, 5f), Enda Muldoon (1-2, 1f).
Substitutions: Barry McGuigan for Brian McCallion (3 mins.); Michael Drum for Barry McGuigan (56 mins.); Colm McGoldrick for James Conway (57 mins.); Brian Og McAlary for Michael Drum (67 mins.); Declan Mullan for Ciaran McGoldrick (70 mins.)
TYRONE - Pascal McConnell; Aidan McCrory; Damian McCaul; P. J. Quinn; Cathal McCarron; Ryan McMenamin, Martin Swift; Connor Gormley, Aiden Cassidy; Kevin Hughes, Brian McGuigan, Sean Cavanagh (1-5, 4f); Owen Mulligan (0-2), Martin Penrose (0-4, 2f), Mark Donnelly.
Substitutions: Davy Harte for PJ Quinn (25 mins.); Justin McMahan for Aidan McCrory (ht); Stephen O’Neill (1-0) for Mark Donnelly; Cathal McCarron for Joe McMahon (64 mins.)
REFEREE - Mr. Jimmy White (Donegal).