Dr McKenna Cup
Derry 0-10 Tyrone 0-10
By Michael McMullan
A STOPPAGE time point from Lachlan Murray saw Derry come from six points down to secure a draw last night in Owenbeg.
It was a night to cement the return of a rivalry with the Ulster champions battling their way back against a Tyrone side that missed chances to put the game to bed.
In a frantic finale, referee Niall Cullen sent off Padraig Hampsey and booked Padraig Cassidy following the same incident. The Tyrone man can feel aggrieved with the differentiation in the sentence.
Tempers began to fray as the game hung in the balance and with the Fermanagh whistler initially letting play continue, the game threatened to spill over.
At one point Gareth McKinless picked up a second booking for what appeared to be a verbal altercation in the face of Tyrone joint manager Brian Dooher.
Both teams had five wides on the board by half time with Tyrone 0-7 to 0-3 ahead on the scoreboard.
Derry registered four further wides in the second half, but it was a free dropped short from Cathal McShane and a shanked free side from Peter Harte – both very scoreable – that failed to kill the Oakleafers off.
Indeed when Man of the Match Conn Kilpatrick raced through and was fouled for Harte’s late kick, it looked like a Tyrone win would be enough to eliminate Derry at the expense of Armagh as the best runner up from the three groups.
There was still time for one last throw of the dice and Odhran Lynch – like he did all through the game – poked a kick-out to a free man in space and Derry began one last play before Lachlan Murray had the courage to thump over a whopping equaliser.
The result was enough to take Derry through in second place and semi-final with Conor Laverty’s Down with Down facing Cavan.
The Red Hands, with the wind at their back, won the throw in and kept possession in a cagey opened that extended for much of the half, in front of an attendance of 3,327.
It took five minutes to produce the first score, a Shane McGuigan fisted point after Conor Doherty and Conor McCluskey build-up.
Tyrone spent much of the half trying to thread the long ball when it was on, Derry kept Murray and Niall Loughlin up front when not on the ball, with five pushed up when they looked to counter.
They lacked the pace on the overlap to break down Tyrone with both teams notching five wides each before the interval.
It took nine minutes to produce the next score. A Pádraig Hampsey turn over in defence saw the on the breakaway with Cormac Munroe drilling over a sweet score from 45 metres.
A Niall Sludden advanced mark saw Tyrone into a 17th minute lead before they took control of the game. Odhran Lynch’s kick-outs to the outside of the runner saw Derry dominate the kick-outs, but their failed attacks put the ball back in visitors’ favour.
A piercing Conor Meyler and left footed effort was the first piece of excitement of the night with Cathal McShane burling off the left foot for a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 23 minutes.
Niall Toner fired over a fine score and when Derry turned over Gallen’s kick-out, the attack yielded free – converted by McGuigan – for their last score of the half
McShane (free) and Richie Donnelly – after a great kick-out from Gallen – had Tyrone into a deserving lead before McShane added a third of the half for a 0-7 to 0-3 interval lead.
It was a bright start for Tyrone after the break with Conor Meyler passing to Brian Kennedy for a high effort between the posts and when Derry secured possession from the kick-out Mark Doherty kicked away possession and a foul on Cathal McShane saw him kick the free for a 0-9 to 0-3 lead.
Derry came back with a burst. Oisin McWilliams drew a foul for Toner to slot over. It was quickly followed by a fine Conor Doherty score, made by Toner and Gareth McKinless and the score was 0-9 to 0-5 after 43 minutes.
In a change of tact, Anton Tohill came in for the Oakleafers and was deployed at full forward, but Tyrone continued to dictate the game further outfield.
McShane kicked Tyrone’s final score of the game in the 53rd minute and they failed to kill the game with the chances they had.
And Derry made them pay. Paudi McGrogan fed Rogers who was fouled and McGuigan dissected the posts, with two Niall Toner frees putting Derry back to within a goal with 58 minutes on the clock.
The game turned when Padraig Cassidy won a vital breaking ball on the kick-out, leading to a long-range score from Rogers.
After the late barrage of cards from referee Cullen, there was time for more drama. Derry hung in at the end and after Tyrone’s missed frees, it was left to Murray’s heroics to book Derry’s semi-final spot.
Niall Toner 0-4 (3f), Shane McGuigan 0-3 (2f), Lachlan Murray 0-1, Conor Doherty 0-1 and Brendan Rogers 0-1.
Cathal McShane 0-5 (2f), Cormac Munroe 0-1, Brian Kennedy 0-1, Niall Sludden 0-1m, Conor Meyler 0-1 and Richie Donnelly 0-1.
Derry: Odhran Lynch, Mark Doherty, Eoin McEvoy, Conor McCluskey, Conor Doherty, Gareth McKinless, Paudi McGrogan, Paul Cassidy, Brendan Rogers, Niall Toner, Padraig Cassidy, Niall Loughlin, Ben McCarron, Shane McGuigan, Lachlan Murray.
Subs: Oisin McWilliams for N Loughlin (INJ 28), Declan Cassidy for M Doherty (39), Anton Tohill for B McCarron (42), Niall O’Donnell for D Cassidy (INJ 61).
Tyrone: Benny Gallen, Nathan McCarron, Cormac Munroe, Padraig Hampsey, Cormac Quinn, Peter Harte, Niall Devlin, Brian Kennedy, Richard Donnelly, Conor Meyler, Conn Kilpatrick, Niall Sludden, Cathal McShane, Mattie Donnelly, David Mulgrew.
Subs: Michael McKernan for C Quinn (HT), Kieran McGeary for N Sludden (43), Emmett McNabb for D Mulgrew (58), Darragh Canavan for M Donnelly (58), Frank Burns for R Donnelly (74).
Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).