Conway dismissal leaves door open for Tyrone

Tyrone 1-14 Derry 2-8

THE two most mentioned people at The Morgan Athletic Grounds on Saturday night were First Minister Peter Robinson and Tyrone player Colm Cavanagh. While the First minister attended his first Gaelic football game the Tyrone player was the central figure in the controversial red card issued to Derry player James Conway.

Derry had made a great start and were leading by 1-3 to 0-1 midway through the first half when Tyrone midfielder Colm Cavanagh suddenly hit the ground with James Conway in close proximity. Linesman Cairan Brannigan a few metres away indicated to referee Martin Higgins that the player had dived. However a signal came in from the opposite line some seventy metres by Padraig Hughes that Conway had struck and to the amazement of all Conway got a red card. Even Tyrone manager Mickey Harte felt that Conway was unlucky.

More drama was to follow when play resumed and this time it was Colm Cavangh who was unlucky colliding with Barry McGoldrick and sustaining broken ribs.

To add to Derry’s misery they lost Gerard O’Kane with injury in the opening minutes.

However to lose a six point lead even with a player short will concern the Derry management.

They looked ragged and disjointed for most of the second half and at one stage trailed by seven points and at the end a late penalty scored by Cailean O’Boyle closed the gap to a respectable three.

It was a typical Derry v Tyrone clash with a host of red cards a few ‘handbags’ allied some excellent football. In the end Tyrone made excellent use of the extra man and for most of the second half Derry had no answer to their pace and attacking half back line who scored four points between them from play.

Both managers had one eye on the league but after two successive defeats by Derry Mickey Harte’s men did not want to lose a third. They will meet again on Sunday week in the league at Omagh and it should be an interesting contest.

Derry were so much on top in the opening quarter that the game looked like being a cruise but the dismissal of Conway changed all that so whether Derry would have won or not with a full fifteen is open to question given the pace and power of Tyrone in the second half.

Derry started brightly with Paddy Bradley converting two frees in the opening seven minutes with Gerard O’Kane getting hurt in between. After eleven minutes Mark Lynch picked up a loose ball to send over under pressure. In the 12th minute Michael Murphy got Tyrone off the mark and then a minute later Colm Cavanagh was lucky to escape censure for a dangerous back charge on Brian McCallion who was catching a high ball.

In the 16th minute a long ball from James Conway fell behind the Tyrone defence and Paddy Bradley crashed the ball to the net for a five point lead. After the delays for the Convery sending off and the Cavanagh injury Mark Lynch put Derry 1-4 to 0-1 in front in the 24th minute. Michael Murphy his and Tyrone’s second score after 27 minutes and gradually Tyrone were tightening the screw.

Peter Harte and Stephen O’Neill closed the gap before Eoin Mulligan cut through to send in a goal via a post and now the Derry lead was down to one. Cathal McCarron came up from the half back line to level the game in the 39th minute.

Tyrone continued their onslaught at the start of the second half with three points in five minutes from Stephen O’Neill Matthew Donnelly and Owen Mulligan.

Derry replied with a Gilligan free but at the other end full forward Mark Donnelly picked up a rebound to leave the gap at three points again.

Matthew Donnelly and Conlth Gilligan exchanged points but despite a string of wides the winners began to pull away. Dermot Carlin and Mathew Donnelly opened u pa five point lead and there was no way back for Brennan’s men when defender Cathal McCarron came forward for his second point.

Sub Ronan O’Neill made the score 1-14 to 1-7 with two minutes of normal time left but in a late rally Sean Leo McGoldrick pointed and O’Boyle blasted home a penalty after Mark Lynch had been pushed in the back.

Tyrone J. Devine, A. McCrory, Justin McMahon, PJ Quinn, C. McCarron 0-2, P.Harte 0-1, D. Carlin 0-1 M, Murphy 0-2, C. Cavanagh, Matthew Donnelly 0-3, P. Hughes, M. Penrose, O. Mulligan 1-1, Mark Donnelly 0-1 Stephen O’Neill 0-2. Subs Joe McMahon for C. Cavanagh(22) Sean O’Neill for Justin McMahon (46), Ronan O’Neill 0-1 for S. O’Neill (67) and Stephen McNulty for M. Murphy (67)

Derry. D. Devlin, D. McBride, L. Morrow, R. Dillon, G. O’Kane, B. McCallion, B. McGoldrick, J. Diver, J. Conway, C. McKaigue, M. Lynch 0-2, S.L. McGoldrick 0-1, C. O’Boyle 1-0, P. Bradley 1-2, C. Gilligan 0-3. Subs N. Forrester for G. O’Kane (9) K. O’Neill for N. Forrester (40) PJ McCloskey for J. Diver (46) M. Craig for R. Dillon (53) E. Lynn for C. Gilligan (61) . Blood sub C. Murray for D. McBride (68)

Referee Martin Higgins Fermanagh.

Derry Meet Galway In League At Celtic Park.

The inter county GAA season gets under way in earnest on Sunday with the opening rounds of the National Football Leagues. Derry will take on a Galway team relegated from the first division last season but under new manager Alan Mulholland they will provide very serious opposition.

After two poor seasons Galway with a lot of under age success in recent years will come with a much changed team as Mulholland intends to start from scratch and bring in some of the players he won the All Ireland under 21 title with last year.

Derry meantime will look to old faithfuls like Paddy Bradley, Mark Lynch, Conleth Gilligan and Gerard O’Kane if he has recovered from an injury picked up against Tyrone in the McKenna cup final.

Derry have a decent record against Galway winning their last meeting at Salthill easily two years ago. The year prior to that the teams drew in the league at Glen, Maghera.

With the retirements of Kevin McGuckin and Kevin McCloy John Brennan has been left with an inexperienced defence and with the likes of Nicky Joyce and Michael Meehan in the visitors front line Derry backs will have to mark tightly.

Derry’s aim is to get back to first division football after two years in the second and if they are to achieve that aim a win on Sunday is vital.