Derry 0-12 Tyrone 3-14

Tyrone crushed Derry at Celtic Park to book their place in the Ulster SFC semi-finals, finishing with 11 points to spare in a 3-14 to 0-12 rout.

First half goals from Ronan O’Neill (2) and Peter Harte deflated the Oak Leafers on their own Celtic Park patch, and there was no way back for a side that was well beaten for the interval.

The Red Hands look like strong contenders for a first provincial title since 2010 on the evidence of their assured first half display, which combined solid defence with explosive attacks on the break.

They did ease off in the second half, but never looked in danger of allowing their opponents back into it, and any slim chance Derry did have of making a game of it were blown away by two second half dismissals of Ciaran McFaul and Chrissy McKaigue.

O’Neill struck the first blow in the eighth minute, getting in behind marker Oisin Duffy to collect Richie Donnelly’s floated delivery, round ‘keeper Thomas Mallon and finish to an empty net.

Derry’s response was admirable, and they shot some eye-catching scores through James Kielt, Mark Lynch and Danny Heavron.

At the end of the opening quarter, just a point separated the sides, the Red Hands ahead by 1-3 to 0-5 thanks to points from Sean Cavanagh, Cathal McShane and O’Neill.

But the remainder of the half belonged to Tyrone, who played the game very much on their own terms, defending in numbers and breaking at pace.

They struck for a second goal in the 20th minute, O’Neill again finishing clinically after Mallon had saved superbly from Cavanagh’s snapshot.

They went on to hit 1-5 on the spin, Connor McAliskey bagging a couple and substitute Darren McCurry landing a gem.

Derry went more than 20 minutes without a score before corner back Karl McKaigue hit the target, but they suffered another hammer-blow in stoppage time when Cavanagh off-loaded to Peter Harte for a third goal.

Tyrone held an 11 points lead at the break, 3-8 to 0-6, but they were on the back foot in the early stages of the second half, substitute Caolan O’Boyle sending a low shot just wide at the far post.

Derry then lost key man Mark Lynch to injury and the Red Hands extended their lead through McCurry and Richie Donnelly.

Kielt and substitutes Ryan Bell and Eoghan Brown hit the target at the other end, but as the game approached its final quarter, they still trailed by nine points.

Ciaran McFaul, who had already been booked was the first Derry man to walk on a black card, and later Chrissy McKaigue was shown a straight red by referee David Coldrick.

Tyrone finished with a swagger, McCurry hitting a couple of gems to bring his tally to four and fellow substitutes Padraig McNulty and Johnny Munroe also finding the target.

Next up for the Red Hands it’s either Cavan or Armagh in the Ulster semi-final.

Derry: T Mallon, O Duffy, B Rogers, K McKaigue (0-01), K Johnston, C McKaigue, G McKinless, N Holly, D Heavron (0-02), S Heavron, J Kielt (0-05, 4f), C McFaul, N Toner, E McGuckin, M Lynch (0-01).

Subs: D McBride for Duffy, R Bell (0-02, 1f) for McGuckin, C O’Boyle for S Heavron, E Brown (0-01) for Lynch, C McAtamney for Holly, G O’Kane for Johnston

Tyrone: M O’Neill, A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron, T McCann, N Sludden, P Harte (1-00), C Cavanagh, M Donnelly (0-01), C McShane (0-01), M Bradley, R Donnelly (0-01), C McAliskey (0-02, 1f), S Cavanagh (0-01), R O’Neill (2-02, 0-1f).

Subs: D McCurry (0-04, 1f) for Bradley, P McNulty (0-01) for R Donnelly, J Munroe (0-01) for McShane, P Hampsey for McCarron, K McGeary for Sludden, B Tierney for S Cavanagh.