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UUJ give Tyrone a testing time

Tyrone 1-18 UUJ 2-11: Tyrone will go into next weekend’s opening National League game with neighbours Derry on a high after qualifying for the McKenna Cup semi-finals thanks to a four point success over UUJ at Healy Park on Saturday night.

With a third of their side from the Red Hand county UUJ took the game to their hosts, a fact acknowledged by Tyrone manager Mickey Harte after the game.

“They played very well and it was only in the final quarter that we managed to get a few points ahead of them,” said Harte.

“We expected a tough challenge and we got it, but it was good to get the result that we required to make the semi-finals.”

It took a goal from Brian McGuigan midway through the second period to swing the game in Tyrone’s favour as they gained a lead they were never to lose.

Martin Penrose helped Tyrone get off to a good start, but Red Hands under-21 player Mattie Donnelly grabbed a 13th minute goal for the students to edge them in front.

Another Tyrone player, Ryan Pickering, ventured forward to strike a fine point for UUJ, but three Sean Cavanagh frees coupled with efforts from Paddy McNeice, Aidan Cassidy and full forward Stephen O’Neill gave Tyrone a 0-10 to 1-6 lead at the break.

Three minutes into the second-half the students scored their second goal when Tyrone keeper Johnny Curran was challenged by Caolan O’Boyle with the ball finishing in the net. Cavanagh converted another free, but another Tyrone under-21 player, Diarmuid McNulty, showed great pace to run through to score for UUJ.

It was end-to-end stuff with the sides level on a number of occasions before the crucial score of the contest arrived when McGuigan’s shot went in over the head of UUJ keeper Ciaran Boyce.

Colm Murney and Emmett McGuckin both pointed for UUJ, but Tyrone had the bit between their teeth with Cavanagh landing his sixth free of the night to compliment efforts from play from Ciaran Gervin, O’Neill and substitute Mark Donnelly.

Tyrone: J Curran, M Swift, C McCarron, D McCaul, S McNally, D Carlin (0-1), R McMenamin, K Hughes, A Cassidy (0-1), M Penrose (0-3), B McGuigan 1-2), S Cavanagh (0-6), P McNeice (0-1), S O’Neill (0-2), C Gervin (0-1). Subs – PJ Quinn for McCarron, E McGinley for Hughes, R McNabb for McMenamin, M Donnelly (0-1) for Cassidy

UUJ: C Boyce, G McCartan, B Donaghy, R Pickering (0-1), C McGinley, D Morgan (0-1), D McGuckin, C Young, C Murney (0-2), S Harkin, E McGuckin (0-2), P Hughes, C McManus (0-2), C O’Boyle (1-1), M Donnelly (1-1). Subs: D McNulty (0-1) for Harkin, J O’Neill for McManus, N Donnelly for Murney.

Referee: C Reynolds (Down).

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