Tyrone’s work ethic shone brightly at Celtic Park, where they put Derry to the sword in an Ulster SFC rout writes Francis Mooney.
The Red Hands defended in numbers and broke at pace to slice through the Oak Leaf defence and fire in three first-half goals. Game over.
The Oak Leafers were on the floor, and they never rose to challenge the dominant men from across the Sperrins, whose semi-final place was assured before the second half got under way.
“We ask them to put in work, put in a shift when they don’t have the ball, and when they do have the ball, we ask them to go and express themselves,” said assistant manager Gavin Devlin.
“At periods today we did that, and at times we didn’t do it that well. At times our transition could have been a lot better, but we’re a work in progress.”
There were fears that heavy rainfall and a greasy surface would hamper Tyrone’s running game, but regular showers during the week at their training base back home had acclimatised the players to conditions they would face in the Maiden City.
“Luckily in Garvaghy this week we have been getting rain plenty of nights, and we thought that was a good omen, for the weather had been good up until this week.
“And if it had been good all week and then on Sunday it was a wet ball, then we would have had much of an opportunity to try and get our touch right, so we had plenty of opportunities this week at Garvaghey to home in on our skills and our basic touch, our first touch, and yeah, it was nice and crisp.”
Derry boss Damian Barton admitted that his side was well off the pace.
“We were well beaten – 11 points in it at half-time. What do you play for in the second half? A wee bit of pride perhaps.
“We had a couple of opportunities at the start of the second half, we lost a couple of men during the second half, and really as a championship contest, it wasn’t a contest, not since the third goal went in,” he said.
“So we were in an uphill battle throughout the game from the first half onwards.”
Barton was disappointed that his team failed to deal with obvious threats from a well rehearsed Tyrone game-plan.
“Most teams go forward in waves and numbers and I’m not being disrespectful to Tyrone, but that’s something we thought we could do but didn’t do.
“We made it very easy for them, they suffocated a few of our attacks, we attacked down the centre, where they had one to two sweepers. Positions don’t really matter with Tyrone, and we made it easy for them.
“We didn’t stretch them, we didn’t get inside them, and we didn’t even play an early ball in at times, whenever there was a one-to-one situation.”