Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup Final
TYRONE 2-13 DERRY 1-7
By Orla Bannon at Pairc Esler
It was one-way traffic in Pairc Esler as Tyrone steamrolled Derry to claim a sixth Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup title in a row.
The Red Hands, fielding a much more experienced side, had the game won by half time with an unanswered 1-6 helping them into a 1-7 to 0-2 lead at the break.
Derry memorably pushed Tyrone all the way in last year’s decider, conceding a two-point lead in injury-time before losing in extra time.
This was a totally different contest, with Colm Cavanagh’s first half goal and a late Peter Harte penalty making it all too easy for Mickey Harte’s side.
Derry failed to score from play for 41 minutes on a difficult night.
They did lead by 0-2 to 0-1 after six minutes following points from Emmett McGuckin and a Mark Lynch free, but failed to score again in the opening half.
They were competitive early on but hit five wides and Tyrone grew in authority, completely taking over.
Colm Cavanagh’s goal in the 17th minute set them on their way, putting them 1-2 to 0-2 ahead.
It was a rare collector’s item for the trojan workhorse, getting on the end of Padraig McNulty’s unselfish pass to bury the ball from close range left-footed past Thomas Mallon.
Within seconds, Derry went down the pitch and almost equalised but had no luck as Ryan Bell’s thunderous shot crashed off the cross bar.
Cavanagh’s goal was the major score in helping Tyrone reel off 1-6 without reply.
Tyrone were a cohesive, purposeful outfit and supported the man in possession, with rookie Declan McClure getting on the end of a slick team move to score.
Mattie Donnelly made a rare foray forward from his defensive role to score, with Mark Bradley and Ronan O’Neill each scoring a brace from play as Mickey Harte’s side coasted to a 1-7 to 0-2 interval lead.
As if Derry didn’t have enough problems, Tyrone introduced Sean Cavanagh for the start of the second half for his goal-scoring brother.
Conor Meyler pointed after 20 seconds, but Derry rallied with three of the next four points, two frees from James Kielt and a long-range point from Ryan Bell.
That reduced the deficit to 1-9 to 0-5, but that was as close as they came.
Mattie Donnelly re-established Tyrone’s momentum with another confident point and Cahir McCullagh and Niall Sludden picked off easy scores as the intensity fizzled out of the contest.
A late Tyrone penalty from Peter Harte put even further distance between the sides.
Ronan O’Neill was pulled back in the square whilst passing to Darren McCurry and referee Sean Laverty signalled a penalty.
Harte buried inside Derry’s left-hand post to make it 2-12 to 0-6 with a long 12 minutes for the Oak Leafers still to play.
Declan McClure rattled the crossbar to deny Tyrone a third goal late on while Derry grabbed a consolation goal from Niall Loughlin deep into stoppage time.
Scorers for Tyrone: P Harte 1-2 (pen, 2f), M Bradley 0-2, R O’Neill 0-2, C Cavanagh 1-0, M Donnelly 0-2, D McClure, C Meyler, N Sludden, C McCullagh, C McCann 0-1 each
Scorers for Derry: J Kielt 0-3 (3f), N Loughlin 1-0, M Lynch 0-2 (2f), E McGuckin, R Bell 0-1 each
TYRONE: N Morgan; A McCrory, J McMahon, P Hampsey; C McCarron, M Donnelly, P Harte; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; D McClure, N Sludden, C Meyler; M Bradley, C McCullagh, R O’Neill. Subs: S Cavanagh for C Cavanagh (HT), D McCurry for Bradley (HT), C McCann (0-1) for McCullagh (44), R McHugh for Harte (59), C McShane for Sludden (59)
DERRY: T Mallon; N Keenan, C Nevin, R Murphy; N Forrester, O Duffin, P Hagan; C McAtamney, M McEvoy; E Lynn, J Kielt, N Loughlin; M Lynch, R Bell, E McGuckin. Subs: M Warnock for Hagan (HT), P Coney for McEvoy (44), M Craig for Duffin (51), G O’Neill for McAtamney (51), B Grant for Kielt (58), C McGroogan for Murphy (61)
REFEREE: Sean Laverty (Antrim)