Tyrone annihilated Derry to advance the Bank of Ireland Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final, after a thoroughly disappointing, foul-ridden encounter at a rain-drenched Casement Park in Belfast today. Unlike last weekend's exciting drawn game in Clones, Tyrone were dominant in every area of the field to run out convincing winners on a 0-17 to 1-05 scoreline.
All Star Peter Canavan was once again in inspirational shooting form, scoring eight points from set-pieces, as Derry’s abrasive, physical approach rarely went unpunished. A late goal from substitute Geoffrey McGonagle put a more respectable appearance on the score-board, however, Derry were never able to even get close to a classy Tryone outfit, who persevered with their free-flowing style all afternoon, despite the difficult weather conditions.
Midfielder Sean Cavanagh, magnificent throughout, signalled Tyrone’s intent to dispose of their local rivals this time around, when he pointed after a mere 11 seconds. Points from Canavan quickly followed as Derry’s inability to cope with their opponents superior passing and running skills soon became apparent. Derry were also experiencing problems in attack, where Paddy Bradly, their saviour in Clones, was hitting wides. It was no surprise that it eventually took a defender, Kevin McCloy, to score Derry’s first point after 9 minutes of play.
Derry continued to commit cynical fouls, however, Tyrone weren’t bothered, with Canavan sure to convert any frees that came his way. At half-time, trailing 0-10 to 0-02, things can’t have been pleasant in the Derry dressing room. In any case, whatever Mickey Moran said to his beleaguered troops during the interval was to prove in vain.
Corner-back Chris Lawn knocked over the first point of the second half, and, even at this early stage, there looked like no way back for Derry, with Anthony Tohill practically anonymous in the centre of the park. Points from Declan McCrossan and Brian McGuigan made it 0-13 to 0-03 and ensured that every line of the Tyrone team, from full-back to full-forward, had managed to register a score.
Padraig O’Kane was given his marching orders for a high challenge on Cavanagh in the 18th minute of the second period as the game ceased to be a contest, triggering an early exodus from the Belfast venue.
Sub McGonagle, whose form was possibly the only positive aspect to emerge from the match for Derry, chipped in with some late scores to amass a personal tally of 1-03. But the outcome was never in doubt as Tyrone - surely now favourites to lift the Ulster title - march on to face either Antrim or Cavan in the last four. More sceptical observers, however, might suggest that the 3 month suspension today imposed on Gavin Devlin could hinder their championship charge.
Filed by James Boylan