Tyrone defeat jetlag and students

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, file photo

Tyrone 2-14 - 1-9 Ulster University

Hours after returning from their Thailand holiday, Tyrone slipped into gear in the second half to make it two wins from two in the Dr McKenna Cup.

Goals from Declan McClure and Peter Harte helped them overcome the Jordanstown students and plant one foot in the semi-finals.

“I suppose it’s understandable that it took the boys a wee while to find their feet. A lot of them have been on holiday for the last 10 days and doing a lot of travelling, and only back yesterday,” said manager Mickey Harte following a comfortable eight-point Healy Park success for a side comprised of experienced stars and hopeful newcomers.

“So we couldn’t expect too much of them, but I think as the game went on you could see that our players were finding their feet a bit more and getting their second wind, so to speak.”

Despite dominating the opening quarter, the Red Hand struggled to break down a packed UU defence, and had only a point to show for their efforts, scored by debutant Ryan Gray, whose Trillick clubmate Lee Brennan helped the students ease ahead, against the run of play.

We would like to have been more efficient in the first half of the first half. I think we had one point out of about eight attempts, and that wouldn’t be good enough any day,” said Harte.

“But it kept us going until we did find our feet and made a few better selections.”

Conan Grugan and Brian Kennedy provided midfield muscle as Tyrone got back in front with scores from defenders Liam Rafferty and Aidan McCrory, with Brennan responding with a couple of frees.

Rafferty’s second sent the home side in with a 0-8 to 0-5 interval lead, but Nathan Donnelly brought the college side level on 45 minutes.

That was the spark that ignited Tyrone’s response, with McClure banging in their first goal from Harte’s assist.

Daire Gallagher hit back with a UU goal, but the home side was now in control, and reeled off 1-2 in the final 15 minutes.

Kennedy and Harte thumped over eye-catching scores, and it was Harte who steered home their second three-pointer after the students had failed to deal with Niall Sludden’s delivery to seal the win and keep the Red Hands on top of Group C.

TYRONE: B Gallen; C McLaughlin, HP McGeary, A McCrory; L Rafferty, C Meyler, M Murnaghan; C Grugan, B Kennedy; D McClure, K Coney, R Gray; D Canavan, R O’Neill, R Sludden.

Subs: P Harte for Murnaghan (39), D Mulgrew for O’Neill (43), N Sludden for R Sludden (46), R Brennan for McGeary (52), C McShane for Canavan (60).

ULSTER UNIVERSITY: T McConville; M Magee, K McKaigue, S Fegan; M McKernan, M McEvoy, O McConvey; T O’Brien, R Mullen; D Gallagher, P Lavery, N Donnelly; L Brennan, F Burns, L Harney.

Subs: E Murray for Magee (21), R Beatty for O’Brien (h-t), D Cassidy for McKaigue (49), J Doherty for Harney (49), C O’Hagan for Burns (62).

Referee: C Branagan (Down).

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