Tyrone's Peter Canavan and Stephen O'Neill led their county into the next round of the All-Ireland Football qualifiers with impressive performances in the 1-17 to 1-12 victory over Derry at Casement Park this evening. Canavan scored seven points and O'Neill six of the final tally as Tyrone battled hard against a gritty Derry team that refused to give up until the final whistle. The match threatened at times to develop into an all-out brawl, becoming more and more physical as it progressed
Tyrone led by three points at half-time, 0-08 to 0-05, as both Canavan and Derry captain Anthony Tohill had their shooting boots on. Little separated the sides although Tyrone held the impetus and were in control when they went in at the break.
Derry came out with their backs up, scoring the first point of the second-half through another free from Tohill. However, on 41 minutes Colin Holmes made a brilliant run into the box to fire home the first goal of the game. Within three minutes, Derry had the ball in the net themselves, albeit against the run of play, when Paddy Bradley dashed inside from the right wing before blasting the ball low and hard into the bottom corner.
Bradley's goal failed to ruffle Tyrone and within a minute they scored with a point from O'Neill to put three points between the two sides. However, three points from Bradley, Geoffrey McGonigle, and Dermot Heaney brought the sides level at 1-09 to 1-09. On 54 minutes, O'Neill pushed Tyrone in front again with a good score and another free from Canavan put them two points ahead.
However, anything Canavan can do, Tohill can do also as he scored his sixth point of the game with a free to leave just a point between the teams once more and only 10 minutes left on the clock. The sides exchanged points again with Canavan, Tohill and Cormac McAnallen all contributing to the 1-11 1-13 scoreline.
But Tyrone stepped up a gear to race into the lead in the dying minutes as O'Neill pointed twice and Brian Dooher got his second of the evening to leave the score at 1-16 to 1-11 in Tyrone's favour. Paddy Bradley scored for Derry in injury time to reduce the deficit but a final point from Canavan, his seventh of the match, put the outcome beyond all reasonable doubt.
Filed by Amanda Fennelly