Tyrone defeat battling Derry in Ulster Championship
Tyrone 1-19 Derry 1-13
Last Updated: 12/05/19 8:55pm
Mickey Harte’s 17th championship campaign in charge of Tyrone got off to the expected winning start, but they were made to work harder than anticipated by a Derry side who edged in front eight minutes from time at Healy Park.
But Tyrone drew on all their experience and did not panic, and dominated the closing minutes to outscore Derry by 1-5 to 0-1 in the closing minutes and advance to a quarter-final meeting against Antrim.
Derry, without a win in Ulster in four seasons, never allowed the All-Ireland finalists to pull away, but they had an uphill battle to climb when they turned around trailing by three points having played with the breeze.
But Damien McErlain's men rose to the challenge, and they will take a lot of confidence from their display as they head into the qualifiers.
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They have not beaten Tyrone in the Ulster championship since 2006, but they almost made a dramatic start when Jason Rocks, one of two late changes, got in on goal after less than a minute, but Niall Morgan produced a superb save.
Tyrone settled after that early scare after two points from Richie Donnelly, after the impressive Cathal McShane had opened the scoring, helped Harte's men open a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after ten minutes, before Shane McGuigan got Derry off the mark.
By the end of the opening quarter, Tyrone led by 0-6 to 0-1 thanks to efforts from Peter Harte, Frank Burns, and McShane, with Derry goalkeeper Thomas Mallon doing well to deflect Burns' shot over the bar.
Ryan Bell and McGuigan responded for Derry, and, after Michael McKernan landed one for Tyrone, Derry rallied and good points from Ryan Bell, Ciaran McFaul, and McGuigan reduced the gap to just a point.
McGuigan had the final say of the half with his fourth point, but two more strikes by McShane left Tyrone 0-10 to 0-7 in front at the break.
With wind assistance to come, that should have been enough for Tyrone to pull away for an easy win, but Derry got stuck in.
The teams exchanged points three times after the restart, with Tyrone just unable to shake off the Derry challenge.
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And then the game swung in Derry's favour when McGuigan was put through and he blasted to the roof of the net to level the match at 0-13 to 1-10 after 56 minutes.
McShane responded immediately for Tyrone, but points from Conor McAtamney and Christopher Bradley edged Derry in front for the first time in the game with just eight minutes of regular time remaining.
Tyrone did not panic, and Burns sent Darrren McCurry away to supply a superb finish to the net and take control of the game again.
McShane pushed the lead out to three and they pushed for home as the Derry challenge finally wilted.
Connor McAliskey made the game safe five minutes from time when he extended the lead to four, and they finished in style to advance to the quarter-finals of the Ulster championship.
Scorers for Tyrone: Cathal McShane 0-7 (0-2f), Peter Harte 0-3 (0-3f), Darren McCurry 1-0, Richie Donnelly 0-2, Michael Cassidy 0-2, Michael McKiernan 0-1, Padraig Hampsey 0-1, Frank Burn 0-1, HP McGeary 0-1, Connor McAliskey 0-1.
Scorers for Derry: Shane McGuigan 1-6 (0-5f), Ryan Bell 0-3 (0-3f), Christopher Bradley 0-2 (0-1f), Ciaran McFaul 0-1, Conor McAtamney 0-1.
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