Dominant Tyrone ease past Derry to collect sixth successive McKenna Cup

Tyrone’s dominance over neighbours Derry shows no sign of abating, and another convincing win saw them collect a sixth successive Dr McKenna Cup title at Pairc Esler.

Dominant Tyrone ease past Derry to collect sixth successive McKenna Cup

Tyrone 2-13 Derry 1-7

Tyrone’s dominance over neighbours Derry shows no sign of abating, and another convincing win saw them collect a sixth successive Dr McKenna Cup title at Pairc Esler.

Mattie Donnelly laid on a masterful performance at the heart of their defence, and goals from Colm Cavanagh and Peter Harte underlined the Red Hands’ vast superiority.

Mark Lynch top-scored with four converted frees, and the Oak Leafers offered little more, with Niall Loughlin’s late goal merely a consolation.

Emmet McGuckin and Ronan O’Neill traded early points, and it was a closely fought affair for most of the opening quarter.

With Mark Lynch looking to prise openings and skipper Enda Lynn leading by example, Derry did threaten, but lacked a cutting edge.

They crafted a series of chances, but a string of wides frustrated their efforts, and Tyrone went level through Declan McClure, after Lynch had converted a free.

Donnelly's perfectly timed block on Neil Forester started the counter-attack which saw Padraig McNulty send midfield partner Colm Cavanagh in for a rare goal.

Derry almost got one back, but Loughlin rifled a shot against the crossbar, and Tyrone rallied again for Harte and Donnelly to shoot them into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead by the 22nd minute.

Mark Bradley could have had a second Red Hand goal, but settled for a point as the margin continued to grow.

Derry skipper Enda Lynn and Lynch dug deep to inspire their flagging team-mates, but it was a virtual shut-out against a composed and supremely well-organised opponent.

Goalkeeper Mallon came to Derry’s rescue with a quality save from O’Neill, but a couple of tidy Mark Bradley points sent the Red Hands in with a 1-7 to 0-2 lead.

Lynch steered over a couple of frees as the Oak Leafers began the second half with a flourish, with Ryan Bell launching a fine score from play as well.

Lynn tracked back to help his side deal with the Red Hand raids, but Derry could do nothing to prevent Donnelly from launching another long range special, nor could they deal with the movement which saw Cahir McCullagh apply a silky finishing touch for a 1-11 to 0-5 advantage with 45 minutes played.

It didn’t get any better for Derry, who conceded a penalty when Ronan O’Neill was hauled down, with Harte tucking away the kick to put the outcome well beyond doubt.

The Oak Leafers did grab a consolation goal through Niall Loughlin, but this was a difficult night, with the start of the league just a week away.

Tyrone: N Morgan, A McCrory, J McMahon, C McCarron, P Hampsey, M Donnelly (0-2), P Harte (1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), C Cavanagh (1-0), P McNulty, D McClure (0-1), N Sludden (0-1), C Meyler (0-1), M Bradley (0-2), C McCullagh (0-1), R O’Neill (0-2).

Subs: D McCurry for Bradey (h-t), S Cavanagh for C Cavanagh (h-t), C McCann (0-1) for McCullagh (44), R McHugh for Harte (59), C McShane for Sludden (59)

Derry: T Mallon, N Keenan, C Nevin, R Murphy, N Forester, O Duffin, M McEvoy, C McAtamney, M Lynch (0-4 (4f), E Lynn, J Kielt (0-1, f), P Hagan, R Bell (0-1), E McGuckin (0-1), N Loughlin (1-0).

Subs: M Warnock for Hagan (h-t), P Coney for McEvoy (44), M Craig for Duffin (51), G O’Neill for McAtamney (51), B Grant for Kielt (58), C McGrogan for Murphy (61)

Referee: S Laverty (Antrim).

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