A GOAL entering the closing stages from Darren McCurry provided the platform for Tyrone to finally fire their way past Derry in this Ulster Championship Preliminary round tie at Healy Park.
The Red Hands won by 1-19 to 1-13, but they had to first survive a brace Derry revival which saw the Oak Leafers take a surprise lead just 10 minutes from the end of this keenly contested tie before an attendance of 10,000.
Shane McGuigan’s goal completed a dramatic turnaround for the Division Four champions and they were in dreamland when Christopher Bradley fired them ahead. However, Tyrone regrouped and emerged winners with six points to spare at the end.
This was a game that last year’s defeated All-Ireland champions had been expected to win comfortably. All seemed to be going according to plan when Cathal McShane led the onslaught in the first half. The home team led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter, before being pegged back. They eventually went in at half-time 0-10 to 0-7 ahead.
Try as they might, they could not shake off the Derry challenge on the resumption either. Hugh Pat McGeary and Peter Harte fired over points to leave them three ahead twice, but they were open to the equalising goal which eventually came with 10 minutes left.
Shane McGuigan’s rasping shot brought the game to life and Derry subsequently went ahead courtesy of Christopher Bradley.
Nevertheless, Tyrone showed real character and that Darren McCurry goal and points from Connor McAliskey, Cathal McShane, Michael McKernan and Peter Harte saw them win with six to spare.