ULSTER CH’SHIP: ‘I have to accept responsibility’ claims Derry boss after Tyrone mauling

Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone in action against Niall Holly of Derry during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, at Celtic Park, Derry.  Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone in action against Niall Holly of Derry during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, at Celtic Park, Derry. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Derry 0-12, Tyrone 2-14

Derry’s Ulster Championship dream was ripped apart by a rampant Tyrone in a hugely disappointing and one sided quarter-final clash on Sunday.

A dejected Danny Heavron of Derry leaves the field after the game with a Tyrone shirt during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, at Celtic Park, Derry.  Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

A dejected Danny Heavron of Derry leaves the field after the game with a Tyrone shirt during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, at Celtic Park, Derry. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Mickey Harte’s team went into the game a strong favourites following four victories over the Oak Leafers already this season but few expected the Red Hands to win the Sunday stroll that developed for the Celtic Park visitors.

The game was as good as over at half-time with Tyrone leading 3-08 to 0-06 thanks to a Ronan O’Neill brace and another goal from Peter Harte in first-half injury time. Derry woes were then compounded by second half dismissals for Ciaran McFaul (yellow, then black card) and Chrissy McKaigue (straight red) for catching Colm Cavanagh with his arm in the face.

Afterwards, Derry manager Damian Barton could not hide his disappointment.

“Losing an game is devastating but the manner in which we lost is even more devastating and confusing,” admitted a shell shocked Barton.

“It is my job to make sure people are well prepared and quite obviously that wasn’t done too well today. We were well beaten. Eleven points in it at half-time and not much to play for in the second half, a bit of pride perhaps.We had a couple of opportunities at the beginning of the second half; lost a couple of men during the second half and really as a championship contest, it wasn’t a contest, not since the third goal went in. We were in an uphill battle from the first half onwards.”

The Derry manager said he felt his side had made things too easy for Tyrone.

“Most teams go forward in waves and I am not being disrespectful to Tyrone but they were doing something we thought we could do but didn’t do We made it easy for them. they suffocated a few of our attacks. We attacked down the centre which is somewhere they would play one or two sweepers, positions don’t really matter at time against Tyrone and we made it easy for them. We didn’t stretch them; we didn’t play inside them and we didn’t play early balls in it was on before thee got their sweepers back in position.”

It was ironic that Derry started the match quite well and recovered from the concession of O’Neill’s first goal which arrived on seven minutes with Tyrone’s first meaningful attack. A superb Richard Donnelly picked out the forward who held off Oisin Duffy before stepping inside both him and Thomas Mallon to slot into an empty net.

It cancelled out James Kielt’s early free but, led by the Kilrea man who was one of the few to emerge with credit, Derry fought back well to bring it back to 0-5 to 1-3 14 minutes in.

Yet just when it seemed as if Derry had sorted things out, Tyrone struck for their second major, Sean Cavanvagh holding off Brendan Rogers before seeing his low shot brilliantly saved by Thomas Mallon only for the rebound to fall perfectly for O’Neill who made no mistake.

It was an ominous sign for Derry who were running into ‘blind alleys’ looked to be struggling every time Tyrone came forward in numbers. Barton must have been hoping to get them in at half-time after Karl McKaigue brought it back to 0-06 to 2-08 before Tyrone struck the fatal blow with Harte’s goal.

and again, it was all too easy as the flying half-back swapped passes with Sean Cavanagh before slotting home with the Derry defence at sixes and sevens.

Barton introduced Cailean O’Boyle at half-time and the big Lavey forward could have hit the net within seconds of coming on, as could Kielt but it is doubtful even a Derry goal would have made much difference at that point.

The rest of the half was played at training pace by the visitors and was notably only for McFaul’s dismissal after he received a black card having been booked in the first half and McKaigue rather harsh looking dismissal for the tangle with Cavanagh.

“We didn’t give our inside line anything to work with,” added Barton, “We didn’t have those runners coming off the shoulder so it was a bad day for us. we were too static around the 60, around the 45 where we went sideways.

“Obviously we have to look at whether we were emotionally ready for the game. I thought we looked tired at times so I have to accept responsibility in terms of the whole package. Emotionally - were we right? Physically - were we right? Eleven points of a deficit and pulling up at the end, I think we are much better than that.”

Derry: Thomas Mallin; Oisin Duffy, Brendan Rogers, Karl McKaigue (0-1); Kevin Johnston, Christopher McKaigue, Gareth McKinless; Niall Holly, Danny Heavron (0-2); Shane Heavron, James Kielt (0-5, 4f), Ciaran McFaul; Niall Toner, Emmett McGuckin, Mark Lynch (0-1). (Subs) Dermot McBride for O Duffy (Blood sub), 22mins; Eoghan Brown (0-1) for M Lynch (inj) 39mins; Ryan Bell (0-2, 1f) for Emmet McGuckin, 33mins; Cailean O’Boyle for S Heavron, H/T; Gerard O’Kane for K Johnston, 46mins; Conor McAtamney for N Holly, 63mins;

Tyrone: Michael O’Neill; Aidan McCroey, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann, Niall Sludden, Peter Harte (1-0); Colm Cavanagh, Matthew Donnelly (0-1); Cathal McShane (0-1), Mark Bradley, Richard Donnelly (0-1); Connor McAliskey (0-3, 1f), Sean Cavanagh (0-1), Ronan O’Neill (2-2, 1f). (Subs) Darren McCurry (0-4, 1f) for M Bradley, 16mins; Padraig McNulty for R Donnelly, 46mins; Jonathan Monroe (0-1) for C McShane, 51mins; Padraig Hampsey for C McCarron, 60mins; Kieran McGeary for N Sludden, 63mins; Barry Tierney for McAliskey, 69mins.

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)