Youthful Derry lose out to Impressive Tyrone performance

Derry's Sean Quinn takes on Kyle Coney of Tyrone in Celtic Park.
Derry's Sean Quinn takes on Kyle Coney of Tyrone in Celtic Park.

McKenna Cup, Section C

Derry 0-11, Tyrone 0-20

Tyrone moved to the top of McKenna Cup, Section C with an impressive nine point victory over an experimental Derry side in Celtic Park.

With both team experiencing the new rules for the first time,opening half was a tight affair but Tyrone's greater experience came to the fore in the third quarter as the home side were kept scoreless for 25 minutes after bring the Red hand lead back to a single point.

In between, Mickey Harte's team built a 0-16 to 0-08 lead that was too much for Damian McErlain's team to bridge, especially as both side started to run thier benches to get some much needed game time into the pre-season legs.

Damian McErlain handed senior debuts to five of his six starting defenders as Sean Quinn, Conor Mulholland, Eamon McGill, Ryan Dougan and Steelstown's Eoghan Concannon all made their Oak Leaf bows.

For his part, Mickey Harte only had two players - Liam Rafferty and midfielder Brian Kennedy - making their first Tyrone appearance though there were Red Hand returns for Darren McCurry and Kyle Coney in a relatively experienced line up.

And if some of the faces were unfamiliar, the new rules looked almost alien at times. Three times a-piece both sides were caught out by the fourth hand-pass rule which often punished the attacking side for trying to move the ball short at pace when going forward. If the hand passes came in quick succession, it was fine but when the first and third hand passes were broken by a period of solo play, it is difficult to ask the third man to think back 30 seconds in a game moving at a fast pace.

That said, it did encourage the kick-pass though with Tyrone's Kyle Coney in particular making use of the extra space with some lovely. With teams trying to kick more, that meant both teams spread out more and consequently more space was available but as it was without the rule, that space often remains in front of the blanket defence.

It took four minutes for the first offensive mark of the game, David Mulgrew picking up a Coney passing and then dispatching the subsequent shot over the bar for the opening score.

Enda Lynn got Derry's first score of the new season before the returning Ryan Bell then put the Oak Leafers ahead on six minutes.

A Darren McCurry free levelled matters but Niall Morgan edged Tyrone in front again from a '45' . Derry responded by winning their first offensive mark through the impressive Gareth McKinless who was breaking forward from sweeper to score the kick.

A soccer style point from Ben McDonnell when a goal was on put Tyrone back in the ascendancy and was added to by Morgan (free) and another fine effort from Mulgrew from another Coney kick pass as the visitors went 0-6 to 0-3 up with 20 minutes on the clock.

Lynn lobbed Morgan for Derry fourth point but McCurry responded by getting on the end of a sweeping Red Hand break and then added an even better point off the outside of his left foot.

Bell showed he had an eye for the spectacular as well for Derry sixth score only to see it cancelled out but Ruairi Sludden's free but the best score of the half had been kept for last.

Ciaran McFaul was tight to the touchline on the left and looked to have little on but launched a 'monster' effort to ensure only two points separated the sides at 0-7 to 0-9 at half-time.

Emmett Bradley got the opening score of the second half from a McGill pass but the Derry disappointment was a goal looked on had the half back gone for the jugular.

Tyrone's response was emphatic, that man McCurry showing all his ability by matching the first half McFaul point was a huge hit of his own which had no right to make it 0-8 to 0-10.

the game was in the balance but Tyrone's experience was telling the the Red hands started to go through the gears, hitting five successive scores as the home side went scoreless for 25 minutes.

In between, Tyrone's efficiency made Derry pay as Cathal McShane, McCurry, Niall Sludden (2), Conan Grugan and Coney took the game away from McErlain's young team at 0-8 10 0-16 with still 14 minutes to play.

A Ryan Bell free finally broke the Derry scoreless streak only for McDonell to replay at the other end.

Emmet Bradley, who had been impressive throughout grabbed a fine solo effort but the game had already got away from Derry.

Substitute Ben McCarron, who did his own chances no harm with a fine cameo performance, should have hit the net after swapping passes with Rocks but he fired over when through on goal.

It wouldn't have mattered. Tyrone had done enough and looked impressive but there was plenty for Damian McErlain to be quietly optimistic about as well

Derry Scorers: Enda Lynn (0-2), Ryan Bell (0-3, 1f), Gareth McKinless (0-1, 1m), Eamon McGill (0-1), Ciaran McFaul (0-1), Emmett Bradley (0-2), Ben McCarron (0-1)

Tyrone scorers: David Muldrew (0-2, 1m), Darren McCurry (0-5, 1f), Niall Morgan (0-2 1f, 1 forty-five), Ben McDonnell (0-2), Ruairi Sludden (0-1, 1f), Cathal McShane (0-2, 1f), Niall Sludden (0-2), Conan Grugan (0-1), Ronan O'Neill (0-1, 1f), Darragh Canavan (0-1)

*m = mark

Derry: Oran Hartin; Sean Quinn, Conor Mulholland, Eoghan Concannon; Gareth McKinless, Eamon McGill, Ryan Dougan; Emmett Bradley, Padraig Cassidy; Ciaran McFaul, Christopher Bradley, Patrick Coney; Jason Rocks, Ryan Bell, Enda Lynn.

(Subs) Paul McNeill for CMulholland (inj), 42mins; Paudie McGrogan for G McKinless, 47mins; Ben McCarron for S Quinn, 52mins;

Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Liam Rafferty, Rory Brennan, Conor Meyler; Tiernan McCann, Aidan McCrory, Ben McDonnell; Conan Grugan, Brian Kennedy; Niall Sludden, Kyle Coney, Cathal McShane; Darren McCurry, David Mulgrew, Ruairi Sludden.

(Subs) Mathew Murnaghan for T McCann, 45mins; Darragh Canavan for David Mulgrew, 45mins; Ronan McNamee for B Kennedy, 52mins; Ronan O'Neill for D McCurry, 58mins; Declan McClure for C Grugan, 62mins.

Referee: Paul Faloon (Down)