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Two Hartes beat as one to shatter Derry dream

Tyrone 0-14 Derry 1-8

Class act: Peter Harte’s experience, vision and accuracy proved too much for Derry in yesterday’s Dr McKenna Cup
Class act: Peter Harte’s experience, vision and accuracy proved too much for Derry in yesterday’s Dr McKenna Cup
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Tyrone took a step nearer resuming their long-standing love affair with the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup when they edged out a gallant Derry side in yesterday's semi-final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

On this occasion, it was two rather than one member of the Harte clan that provided the recipe success with manager Mickey calling the shots on the touchline and nephew Peter running in the show after having been introduced as a half-time substitute.

It was his sharp positional sense, cultured distribution and impressive five-point haul (four frees) that ultimately helped to book his team's ticket into next Saturday night's decider against Armagh.

In a game in which they dropped no fewer than nine shots into the arms of Derry goalkeeper Thomas Mallon and hit seven wides, the Red Hands struggled for the most part in the first-half before the 'other' Harte pulled the strings more efficiently throughout the second-half.

Manager Mickey, clearly pleased at seeing his side get the opportunity to reclaim a trophy which they surrendered to Donegal last year after a six-year custody of the silverware, is now relishing an extra game in advance of his team's league opener against Kerry on January 27.

"Derry made it very difficult for us in the first-half particularly when they went three points up at one stage but I think that the bit of quality we brought in at half-time made the difference for us in the end," said the Tyrone boss.

"We are now going in against Armagh in the final and they have been showing up well in this competition and will like ourselves welcome this extra game before the league."

Three breaches of the new hand-pass rule in the opening ten minutes set the tone for a first-half in which frustration became the name of the game for both sides.

Derry, with Chrissy McKaigue and Christopher Bradley igniting much of their attacking skills, always carried a bigger threat and looked capable of taking control when they led by 0-4 to 0-2 by the 23rd minute.

Bradley had landed a point from a play as well as one from a '45' while Enda Lynn and Shane McGuigan had also been on target with Ben McDonnell and Ronan O'Neill having snapped up the Red Hands' scores.

But with newcomer Brian Kennedy influential at midfield and Kyle Coney distributing the ball cleverly Tyrone stepped up a gear.

They controlled the closing phase of the first-half and after Ronan O'Neill scored a point Ruairi Sludden added another also from a placed ball and Conal McCann landed one from play to leave the teams deadlocked at 0-6 each at half-time, Christopher Bradley having already underlined his value to Derry by snapping up three points.

But after Patrick Coney thundered in a spectacular 44th minute goal for Derry, Peter Harte imposed himself on the contest to such an extent that he proved unstoppable.

His exquisite passing, intelligent use of space and unerring accuracy in racking up five points between the 46th and 71st minutes with four coming from frees put him in a different league.

Derry were rendered toothless for the most part during this spell, a Shane McGuigan point from a free in the 70th minute the only response they could muster in response to Harte's master class.

Tyrone: B Gallen; A McCrory, H P McGeary, M McKernan; B McDonnell 0-1, R Brennan, M Cassidy; D McClure, B Kennedy; C McCann 0-1, K Coney 0-2, C McShane; L Brennan, R O'Neill 0-2 (1f), R Sludden 0-2 (1f). Subs: L Rafferty for McCrory, P Harte 0-5 (4f) for O'Neill, D Canavan 0-1 for L Brennan (all half-time), D McCurry for Sludden (49), F Burns for Cassidy (70). Yellow cards: McCrory (29), McClure (37), Coney (65).

Derry: T Mallon; E Concannon, C Mulholland, S Quinn; P Coney 1-0, K McKaigue, J Rocks: C McKaigue, C McFaul; R Dougan, J. Doherty, P Cassidy; C Bradley 0-4 (3f, 1 '45'), S McGuigan 0-2 (1f), E Lynn 0-2. Subs: C McAtamney for Doherty (46), N Toner for Bradley (56), G McKinless for Dougan (56), D Hughes for Mulholland (62). Yellow cards: Rocks (29).

Referee: Ciaran Branagan (Down).

Belfast Telegraph


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