Tyrone win crunch league derby clash against Derry

Tyrone GAA1

Allianz League, Division 2: Tyrone 2-15 v Derry 0-12

Tyrone have full points from four games and are charging towards promotion following their nine points win over neighbours Derry at Healy Park.

Their win over Derry means they are the only county in Division 2 without a loss and now have a four point lead over second-placed Derry, following this top of the table clash.

A fourth competitive win over the Oak Leafers in as many games this season has given the Red Hands a significant psychological advantage as they count down the weeks to the big Ulster Championship meeting in May.

Sean Cavanagh and Aidan McCrory scored the goals that set the home side on their way to a nine points success in front of a crowd of 5,665.

Richie Donnelly arrowed over four delightful points from play, while Ronan O’Neill was unerring from placed balls, hitting five from five, as well as one from play.

Derry struggled to counteract the Red Hand running game, which was extremely effective, despite the heavy Omagh surface.

All-Ireland U21 winning captain Kieran McGeary marked his league debut with a point after just 22 seconds, but Derry were ahead by 0-3 to 0-2 by the tenth minute, full back Chrissy McKaigue pushing forward to score, with Ciaran McFaul and Emmet Bradley also on target.

James Kielt added another from a free, but Tyrone were soon on top in all the key areas, with their running game and support play exploiting their opponents.

Derry were also struggling to win their own kick-outs, and the home side gratefully snapped up possession, often winning frees that O’Neill despatched.

Sean Cavanagh sliced through the Oak Leaf defence to land a trademark score, and by the 26th minute, they had moved into a 0-7 to 0-4 lead.

Derry went 15 minutes without a score, before Ryan Bell converted a free, but they were soon under pressure again, and goalkeeper Eoin McNicholl saved superbly from Barry Tierney, who looked certain to net after Colm Cavanagh had found acres of space to drive through the middle.

McGeary and Richie Donnelly both brought their tallies to two for a 0-10 to 0-6 interval lead.

The younger Donnelly was on fire, and thumped over two more brilliant points at the start of the second half.

The introduction of Chrissy Bradley gave Derry more in terms of creativity and finishing, and he hit a couple of points to keep the visitors in contention.

But the game slipped away from Derry in the 50th minute when Tiernan McCann crated the opening and slipped the pass for Sean Cavanagh to fire his shot to the top corner of the net.

Conor Meyler and O’Neill added Tyrone points, which were cancelled out by Danny Heavron and Emmet McGuckin.

Derry finished with 14 men following Chrissy McKaigue’s second booking, and Tyrone finished the game off when corner back McCrory scored his first Tyrone goal in stoppage time.

Tyrone scorers: S Cavanagh 1-1, A McCrory 1-0,  R O’Neill 0-6 (5f), R Donnelly 0-4, K McGeary 0-2, P Harte, C Meyler 0-1 each

Derry scorers: J Kielt 0-3 (2f), C Bradley (1f), R Bell (2f) 0-2 each, D Heavron, C McKaigue, C McFaul, E McGuckin, E Bradley 0-1 each.

Tyrone: N Morgan, A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron, B Tierney, R Brennan, T McCann, C Cavanagh, M Donnelly, K McGeary, P Harte, R Donnelly, C McAliskey, S Cavanagh, R O’Neill.

Subs: C Meyler for Brennan (h-t), J Munroe for Tierney (48), M Bradley for McGeary (48), D McCurry for McAliskey (62), J McMahon for McNamee (65), C McCann for Harte (69).

Derry: E McNicholl, O Duffy, C McKaigue, K McKaigue, G McKinless, B Rogers, M Craig, N Holly, E Bradley, D Heavron, C McFaul, SL McGoldrick, R Bell, E McGuckin, J Kielt.

Subs: R Ferris for Craig (30), C Bradley for Bell (44), C McAtamney for E Bradley (52), C O’Boyle for Kielt (55), S Heavron for K McKaigue (59, BC), B Heron for McGuckin (65).

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).