All-Ireland champions Tyrone rarely hit top gear but had enough in reserve and the benefit of Kevin Hughes' 37th minute goal to defeat an off-pace 14-man Derry 1-17 to 1-06 in the Ulster SFC Preliminary Round clash in front of 22,243 spectators in Clones today.

The Oak Leaf County's chances took a nose dive when The Loup half back Padraig O'Kane was sent-off by Wexford referee Brian White in first half injury time for a second bookable offence. O'Kane was also dismissed in last season's Championship replay against Tyrone, but there was no likelihood of a second game this afternoon as Derry allowed Mickey Harte's side sail into a five-point lead at half time, with Derry midfielder Enda Muldoon hitting four of his side's nine wides.

Padraig Kelly came into the Derry full back line for Kevin McCloy who suffered a late cheekbone injury, and the Derry rearguard was over active in the opening 20 minutes as Tyrone pointed four times. Former Omagh Town skipper Colm McCullagh pointed in the third minute after two early wides before midfielder Sean Cavanagh added a second.

Cavanagh fisted Tyrone's fourth in the eighteenth minute following Philip Jordan's left-footed effort, while Derry's best chance of a first score sailed wide from Muldoon's 30-metre free. Hughes, a usual midfielder lining out on the forty, opened his account from a Cavanagh offload on 22 minutes and with the half-forward breaks coming Tyrone's way, Brian Dooher pointed their sixth two minutes later.

Paddy Bradley, who was to assume the mantle of Derry's main scorer with 0-04 (three frees), pointed a 31st minute free, added to by Francis McEldowney three minutes later. White sent O'Kane to the line soon after and Mark Harte's second point of the half ended the scoring at 0-07 to 0-02.

Two minutes after the restart, a wayward Dooher point attempt was gathered in by Harte on the right. The manager's son then turned well on the end line and his inviting centre was brilliantly powered to the net by Hughes from an unmarked position. Harte added a free, cancelled out by Muldoon and Bradley from placed balls, as Tyrone stretched their advantage to 1-08 to 0-03 by the 48th minute.

A run of four successive scores from McCullagh, Hughes, Cavanagh and Dooher opened up an 11-point gap from Tyrone before Bradley stopped the rot with a third point. Bradley then notched a fourth, cancelling out a rampant Cavanagh's fisted effort - his third on the hour.

Harte claimed two points in three minutes as the Derry followers began to leave, but Kelly breathed a bit of life into their challenge as he gathered a long searching ball from Muldoon to slam past John Devine. Again Tyrone came back as Enda McGinley and substitute Stephen O'Neill pointed to seal an emphatic 11-point victory despite being without key men.

Tyrone: J Devine, R McMenamin, C Gormley, C Gourley, B Donnelly, G Devlin, P Jordan (0-1), C Holmes, S Cavanagh (0-4), B Dooher (0-2), B McGuigan, E McGinley (0-1), M Harte (0-4, 1f), K Hughes (1-2), C McCullagh (0-2).

Subs: J McMahon for Donnelly, S O'Neill (0-1) for Dooher

Derry: B Gillis, SM Lockhart, N McCusker, P Kelly (1-0), P O'Kane, K McGuckin, F McEldowney (0-1), F Doherty, E Muldoon (0-1, f), Patsy Bradley, C Gilligan, J McBride, J Kelly, Paddy Bradley (0-4, 3f), P McFlynn.

Subs: R Lynch for McFlynn, J Donaghy for Kelly, J Bradley for Patsy Bradley.
 

Filed by Shane Murray