Tyrone power past Derry to book place in Ulster semi-final

Tyrone power past Derry to book place in Ulster semi-final
Peter Harte of Tyrone in action against Niall Keenan of Derry during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Derry and Tyrone at Celtic Park, in Derry. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Derry 0-11 Tyrone 0-22

By Francis Mooney

Tyrone repeated last season’s 11 points win over Derry to power into the Ulster SFC semi-finals and a repeat of last year’s decider against Donegal.

It was all too easy for the Red Hands at Celtic Park, as they crushed an outclassed opponents with their pace and power.

Sean Cavanagh led the line with authority, hitting seven points to cap a triumphant day for the 34-year-old in his final season in the county colours.

And they had strentgth in reserve, with effective attackers coming off the bench to hit seven points and present manager Mickey Harte with a selection dilemma for his next outing.

Tyrone’s pace and movement caused problems for Derry right from the outset, and while their finishing was less than clinical in the opening stages, they were able to steadily construct a comfortable lead.

Sean Cananagh knocke over a couple of frees, and midfielder Conall McCann celebrated his first championship start by finishing off an excellent team score.

Derry’s approach was laboured, and lacking in the pace and accuracy of Tyrone’s, and it wasn’t until the 16th minute that Niall Loughlin opened the home side’s account from a free.

They were nervous at the back too,, coughing up the frees that Canagh gratefuly nailed, with Peter Harte also on target from a placed ball.

When centre back Rory Brennan finsiehd off a move involving Mattie Donnelly and Conall McCann in the 21st minute, the Ulster champions led by 0-8 to 0-2.

Derry did pull back points through Ciaran McFaul and Danny Heavcron, who thumoped over a long range free, but further scores from Tiernan McCVann and Cavanagh eased the Red Hands into a 0-10 to 0-5 interval lead.

Derry committed men forward and it paid off as Niall Keenan, one of their few star performers, slotted over a point, followed by scores from Enda Lynn and Benny Heron.

But they found themselves stretched at the back, and Cavanagh sent a gem soaring between the posts.

Corner back Aidan McCrory had a golden goal chance when sent through by Niall Sludden, but he was denied by a superb Ben McKinless save, with Keenan keeping his second effort out on the rebound.

Peter Harte converted the resultant ’45, and when Cavanagh and substitutes Darren McCurry and David Mulgrew, with their first touches, tagged on scores, Mickey Harte’s side were once again looking comfortable, seven points clear going into the final ten minutes.

Another posse of subs made their mark, with Declan Mulgrew and Lee Brenann (2) also hitting the target as the provincial champions took complete control and cruised through the finish line with plenty to spare.

Derry: B McKinless; N Keenan (0-1), B Rogers, K McKaigue; C McFaul (0-1), C McKaigue, C McWilliams (0-1); C McAtamney, D Heavron (0-1, f); R Bell, N Loughlin (0-4, 3f), E Lynn (0-1); D Tallon, E McGuckin, B Heron (0-1, f).

Subs: M Lynch for Bell (48), S McGuigan (0-1, f) for Tallon (58), M McEvoy for McGuckin (64), C Nevin for McAtamney (67)

Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, P Hampsey; T McCann (0-1), R Brennan (0-1), C Meyler; C Cavanagh (0-1), C McCann (0-2); K McGeary, N Sludden, P Harte (0-2, 1f, 1 ’45); M Bradley (0-1), S Cavanagh (0-7, 6f), M Donnelly.

Subs: F Burns for McGeary (29), R McNabb for Meyler (h-t), D McCurry (0-3) for Bradley (51), D Mulgrew (0-1) for Burns (BC 55), D McClure (0-1) for Sludden (61), L Brennan (0-2, 1f) for C Cavanagh (63)

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).

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