Tyrone 2-15, Derry 0-12
Derry fell to a second Division Two defeat as Tyrone made it four from four with an ominous display at Healy Park on Saturday night.
Sean Cavanagh’s 49th minute goal all but ended the contest but in truth Tyrone were in charge of affairs for the majority of the game. A late red card for Chrissy McKaigue following a high tackle on Tiarnan McCann only serving to rub salt into the Oak Leaf wounds who have now lost to their old rivals four times this season.
Derry began with Brendan Rogers doing a man marking job on Sean Cavanagh and Niall Holly dropping deep into a sweeping role and initially it looked to be paying dividends.
After Kieran McGeary shot Tyrone in front within 25 seconds of the throw-in, Chrissy McKaigue served notice that he was more than comfortable in his new advanced role by firing over the equaliser from an acute angle on the right wing.
Richard Donnelly and Ciaran McFaul traded points but the visitors were working the ball well against the Tyrone blanket defence, finding runners off the shoulder and managing to work space to shoot. Sean Leo McGoldrick set up Emmett Bradley for a lovely score and when Ryan Bell grabbed his first of the night, Derry seemed to have settled well.
In Ronan O’Neill, Tyrone appear to have found a free taker of the highest calibre and he reduced the deficit with the first of four first half frees before Rogers was booked for a foul on Cavanagh which provided the corner forward’s second.
It was the catalyst for the Red Hands best period of the first half as they hit five scores in succession, Cavanagh breaking two week Derry tackles to make it 0-5 to 0-4 before Pater Harte and O’Neill again left the home side two points up 28 minutes in.
Eoin mcnicholl was then called into action, making a superb low save from Barry Tierney after Colm Cavanagh had been afforded the freedom of Healy Park to stride forward unchallenged and send the half-back clear on goal.
It was as good as a four point turnaround because instead of finding themselves five points down, Derry promptly went up the pitch with James Kielt’s excellent long range score making it a one point game at 0-7 to 0-6.
Donnelly then showed that anything Kielt could do, he was also capable of with a long range effort of his own as the more the half wore on, the more Derry were finding difficulty with their kick-outs.
Whereas Tyrone were able to work their kicks short with a number of fast kick-outs catching Derry out and allowing the home side to build from the back. By contrast Tyrone were forcing McNicholl to kick long which resulted in more than one Derry kick ending in the hands of a white jersey.
An O’Neill free sent the home side into the break four points up at 0-10 to 0-06 and Derry were already playing catch-up
The second half began as the first ended, with a Tyrone point as Donnelly continued to impress with another lovely score but it was cancelled out by a Bell free.
The Derry front line of Emmett McGuckin and James Kielt were looking increasingly isolated as Donnelly increased the lead.
Kielt and substitute Christopher Bradley hit points but Tyrone were always in charge and Sean Cavanagh’s goal on 49 minutes looked a fatal blow.
Again Derry’s kick-outs caused the problem, this one finding only Richard Donnelly who passed to Tiarnan McCann who laid the ball off into the path of Cavanagh who steadied himself and found the top corner for a 1-13 to 0-09 lead.
From there it was damage limitation for Derry and Sean Cavanagh could have had a second when Oisin Duffy’s misplaced pass sent him clear on goal but the Tyrone talisman shot hit and wide with the goal at his mercy.
As Derry went in search, they were forced to take chances at the back and in injury time Tyrone corner back Aidan McCrory went clear to grab the home side second goal but the contest had long been over.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan, Aidan McCrory (1-0), Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron, Barry Tierney, Rory Brennan, Tiernan McCann, Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly, Kieran McGeary (0-2), Peter Harte (0-1), Richard Donnelly (0-4), Connor McAliskey, Sean Cavanagh (1-1), Ronan O’Neill (0-6, 5f). Subs: Conor Meyler (0-1) for R Brennan, H/T; Jonathan Monroe for K McGeary, 47mins; Mark Bradley for B Tierney, 47mins; Darren McCurry for C McAliskey, 62mins; Justin McMahon for R McNamee, 66mins;
Derry: Eoin McNicholl, Oisin Duffy, Chrissy McKaigue (0-1), Karl McKaigue, Gareth McKinless, Brendan Rogers, Mark Craig, Niall Holly, Emmet Bradley (0-1), Daniel Heavron (0-1), Ciaran McFaul (0-1), Sean Leo McGoldrick, Ryan Bell (0-3, 2f), Emmett McGuckin (0-1), James Kielt (0-1). Subs: Ryan Ferris for M Craig, 30mins; Christopher Bradley (0-2) for R Bell, 44mins; Conor McAtamney for E Bradley, 52mins; Cailean O’Boyle for J Kielt, 54mins; Shane Heavron for K McKaigue (Black Card), 60mins; Benny Heron for E McGuckin, 66mins;
Referee:: David Coldrick (Meath)