Tyrone lay down their traditional marker with McKenna Cup final victory
Dr McKenna Cup final: Tyrone 2-13 Derry 1-7
AS he raised the McKenna Cup on Tyrone’s behalf for the sixth year in succession, Peter Harte said he’d park the traditional three cheers for Derry, adding: “We’ll see yous later on in the summer”.
There was no hint of menace nor mischief in his voice, rather a genuine avoidance of one of the GAA’s oldest and most patronising traditions, but there was enough thrust about Tyrone’s performance in Newry that did the talking for them.
It was always going to be a difficult evening for such a young Derry side against Mickey Harte’s insatiable side, but even the most optimistic Derry fan would have left Pairc Esler sobered by the chasm between the sides.
Maybe there was an element of Derry not wanting to put as much into an early-season encounter as they did to last year’s decider – when they lost Enda Lynn for practically the whole season – but it was still not the performance Damian Barton would have wanted.
Niall Loughlin’s far-post finish in the second minute of stoppage time cut the margin of defeat back to nine but had Tyrone taken even half of their goal chances, it could have been much wider.
A typically forthright start to the year for Tyrone then. For Derry, the challenge of Division Two suddenly looks a bit tougher again.
Derry: T Mallon; N Keenan, C Nevin, R Murphy; N Forester, O Duffin, M McEvoy; C McAtamney, J Kielt (0-3 frees); E Lynn, M Lynch (0-2 frees), P Hagan; E McGuckin, R Bell (0-1), N Loughlin (1-0); Subs: M Warnock for Hagan (h-t), P Coney for McEvoy (43), M Craig for Duffin (51), G O’Neill for McAtamney (51), B Grant for Kielt (58), C McGrogan for Murphy (60); Yellow cards: E McGuckin (22), J Kielt (44), P Coney (45), G O’Neill (59)
Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, J McMahon, P Hampsey; C McCarron, M Donnelly (0-2), P Harte (1-2, 1-0pen, 0-2 frees); C Cavanagh (1-0), P McNulty; D McClure (0-1), N Sludden (0-1), C Meyler (0-1); M Bradley (0-2), C McCullagh (0-1), R O’Neill (0-2); Subs: S Cavanagh for C Cavanagh (h-t), D McCurry for Bradley (h-t), C McCann (0-1) for McCullagh (43), R McHugh for Sludden (59), C McShane for Harte (59); Yellow cards: C Cavanagh (35), D McClure (45), C McShane (68)
Referee: S Laverty (Antrim)