writes Francis Mooney.

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Tyrone edge past Fermanagh as Derry beat Monaghan to set up McKenna Cup final decider

Tyrone and Derry will meet in the Dr McKenna Cup final next weekend, after two close and exciting semi-finals, writes Francis Mooney.

Tyrone edge past  Fermanagh as Derry beat Monaghan to set up McKenna Cup final decider

Tyrone and Derry will meet in the Dr McKenna Cup final next weekend, after two close and exciting semi-finals, writes Francis Mooney.

Holders Tyrone edged past Fermanagh by 0-14 to 0-11, while Derry left it late to beat Monaghan by 2-12 to 1-13 at Armagh.

Fermanagh started the game with a flourish driven by energy and desire, and they ran at the Tyrone defence at every opportunity, using support runners to stretch their opponents.

They went ahead through Eddie Courtney and Tomas Corrigan, and the Tyrone defence was under sustained pressure.

Midfielder Eoin Donnelly charged through with goal on his mind, but he was denied by a superb Peter Harte block.

Tyrone finally got their opening score in the 10th minute when Darren McCurry split the posts, and Niall McKenna brought the holders level moments later.

The Tyrone defence grew in stature as the game wore on, and restricted the Erne men to just one point in the second quarter, a third free for Corrigan.

An injury to Colm Cavanagh saw older brother Sean enter the action on the half-hour for his first appearance of 2017 and the beginning of a 16th season in the county colours.

Harte’s fourth free sent Tyrone in with a 0-7 to 0-4 interval lead, and they started moving more freely in the second period, with Darren McCurry taking over the free-taking duties, as well as adding a magnificent effort from play.

They went ahead by 0-10 to 0-5, and after Paul McCusker had pulled back an Erne point, the Red Hands went 0-13 to 0-6 ahead, with McCurry, Cathal McShane and Lee Brennan hitting the target.

Fermanagh introduced Sean Quigley, who landed a couple of long range frees, with Aidan Breen and Corrigan also on target, but the holders held out for a place in the final.

Meanwhile, Derry struck late to deny Monaghan at the Athletic Grounds, winning by 2-12 to 1-13.

James Kielt and Niall Loughlin were on target in the first half as they built up a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead.

Conor McManus led the Monaghan charge after the break, and a Drew Wylie point eased the Farney men into a 0-11 to 0-109 lead.

But James Kielt’s 69th minute goal was the crucial score, and while Monaghan had scores from Fintan Kelly and Barry McGinn, the Oak Leafers held on.

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