Derry win Dr McKenna Cup in close-fought thriller

Derry 2-12 Tyrone 2-11

Derry 2-12 Tyrone 2-11

Derry triumphed in a thriller at the Athletic Grounds, where they won the Dr McKenna Cup for the first time in 12 years.

It was a decider to savour, with Tyrone coming back from eight points behind to go ahead, before the Oak Leafers steadied the ship with a goal from corner back Ciaran Mullan.

It was just the boost John Brennan’s side needed following a heavy league defeat to Laois, and the Red Hands will be happy also with their second half performance, following a dismal first half showing.

Martin Donaghy and Sean Leo McGoldrick got Derry moving with a couple of early scores.

They were four points ahead, with Enda Muldoon and paddy Bradley converting frees, before Tyrone got their first score through Sean Cavanagh in the 13th minute

Bradley’s second free made it 0-5 to 0-1 after 20 minutes, and the Red Hands were struggling to get into the game.

They did pull a point back with a Cavanagh free, but Derry went eight points in front in the 35th minute when Muldoon rose high to field Sean Leo McGoldrick’s delivery and blast home a goal.

Derry led by 1-7 to 0-2 at half-time, but an inspired Red Hand side threw everything at them after the restart.

They hit 1-6 without replay, with Martin Penrose, Sean Cavanagh and Owen Mulligan hitting quality points, before Cavanagh cut in to rifle home a goal from a tight angle.

But after going behind, Derry responded with an unlikely goal from corner back Ciaran Mullan.

The Bradley brothers hoisted points to open up a three points lead, and a superb Enda Muldoon point had them five ahead deep into injury time.

But Tyrone were not finished yet, and substitute Stephen O’Neill swept home a goal, but Derry held on for the silverware.

Tyrone: P McConnell, A McCrory, D McCaul, PJ Quinn, C McCarron, R McMenamin, M Swift, C Gormley, A Cassidy, K Hughes, B McGuigan, S Cavanagh (1-5, 0-4f), O Mulligan (0-2), M Penrose (0-4, 2f), M Donnelly.

Subs: D Harte for Quinn (25), Justin McMahon for McCrory (h-t), S O’Neill (1-0) for Donnelly (56), Joe McMahon for McCarron (64)

Derry: D Devlin, C Mullan (1-1), K McCloy, D McBride, B McCallion, A McAlynn, G O’Kane, PJ McCloskey, J Conway, M Donaghy (0-1), SL McGoldrick (0-1), E Bradley (0-1), C McGoldrick, P Bradley (0-6, 5f), E Muldoon (1-2, 0-1f).

Subs: B McGuigan for McCallion (4), M Drumm for McGuigan (55), C McGoldrick for Conway (58), B McAlarey for Drumm, D Mullan for C McGoldrick

Referee: J Whyte (Donegal).

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