Tyrone take Dr McKenna Cup title

Tyrone 1-14 Derry 2-8

Tyrone limbered up for next weekend’s NFL opener against Kildare with a first Dr McKenna Cup title since 2007.

The Red Hands dominated the second half after Derry’s early flourish wilted when they were reduced to 14 men.

The dismissal of midfielder James Conway on a straight red card in the 18th minute had a major effect on the game, with the Oak Leafers struggling to stay with a Tyrone side which exploited the gaps which appeared.

Paddy Bradley’s early goal helped John Brennan’s side to a six points lead, but an Owen Mulligan strike sparked a fightback which never relented until Cailean O’Boyle netted a consolation penalty in stoppage time.

Paddy Bradley shot the Oak Leafers into a two points lead with two frees in the opening six minutes, and gave his side a massive boost with a 16th minute goal, finished with precision after Conway had thuimp[ed a free kick into thdanger area.

Derry went further ahead with a trademark Mark Lynch point, before Colm Cavanagh’s pass sent Mickey Murphy in for Tyrone’s opening score.

Despite losing the influential Conway, who misses next weekend’s league opener against Galway, fourteen-man Derry continued to call the shots, with Lynch firing over a wonderful point from the sideline.

Tyrone had scores from Peter Harte and a Stephen O’Neill free, but in stoppage time they were right back in, with Owen Mulligan firing in a goal following a neat build-up from Dermot Carlin and Joe McMahon

Cathal McCarron’s point sent the sides in level on 1-5 each at the break, and Tyrone pushed on after the break with another string of points, including sublime efforts from Stephen O’Neill and the impressive Mattie Donnelly.

Derry’s two scores in the third quarter came from Gilligan frees, and their brief skirmishes into opposition territory failed to interrupt the Red Hand momentum.

Murphy, back in action following a lengthy battle against injury, lifted his game in midfield, while Mark Donnelly was a creative force and Mattie Donnelly fired over two more quality scores.

Six of Tyrone’s scores came from half backs and midfielders, with Cathal McCarron pushing forward to hit his second.

They were seven points clear as the game slipped into stoppage time, when O’Boyle slotted home a consolation penalty.

Tyrone: J Devine, A McCrory, Justin McMahon, PJ Quinn, C McCarron (0-2), P Harte (0-1), D Carlin (0-1), M Murphy (0-2), C Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly (0-3), P Hughes, M Penrose, O Mulligan (1-1, 0-1f), Mark Donnelly (0-1), Stephen O’Neill (0-2, 1f).

Subs: Joe McMahon for Cavanagh (20), J Lafferty for Penrose (49), Sean O’Neill for Justin McMahon (52), S McNulty for Murphy (67), R O’Neill (0-1) for Stephen O’Neill (67)

Derry: D Devlin, D McBride, L Morrow, R Dillon, G O’Kane, B McCallion, SLGoldrick (0-1), J Conway, J Diver, C McKaigue, M Lynch (0-2), B McGoldrick, C O’Boyle (1-0, pen), P Bradley (1-2, 0-2f) , C Gilligan (0-3, 2f).

Subs: N Forrester for O’Kane (8), K O’Neill for Forrester (40), PJ McCluskey for Diver (51), M Craig for R Dillon (53), E Lynn for Gilligan (62)

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).

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