All-Ireland champions Tyrone stunned by Derry in Omagh

Two red cards for Tyrone on forgettable day as qualifiers loom

Derry manager Rory Gallagher congratulated by his son Seany. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho

Tyrone 0-10 Derry 1-18

It will be a short trawl through the record books for an enterprising and thorough soul, but for now we can do a Rory Gallagher spit on the palm and shake on it that no defending All-Ireland Gaelic football champions have been beaten, at home, by eleven points before. Probably.

After a puzzling winter where seven Tyrone players stepped away from the prospect of fashioning a first ever All-Ireland defence for the Red Hands, those inside the group gave the distinct impression that it wouldn’t be a factor.

But there’s only so long reality can be staved off. By half-time here, Derry had rolled it back to 2006 when they pulled off a similar feat.


Rory Gallagher, the current Derry manager, knows about life in a camp defending Sam Maguire, only for the walls to fall down. In 2013, he was assistant to Jim McGuinness when Donegal were smashed 4-17 to 1-10 by Mayo.

“Yeah, I felt they were a small bit vulnerable. It’s not easy being All-Ireland champions,” said Gallagher.

“I know myself from the experience from being involved with Donegal. You think you’re doing things right but sometimes you need a wee kick up the backside.

“They’ve got that now. They’ll respond. From my point of view, I felt we were getting better. We wanted to play against the better teams but you have to start beating them.”

Bullet points to follow; They were in front 1-8 to 0-4. Tyrone had a man sent off, totemic midfielder Brian Kennedy for a petulant kick on Gareth McKinless after fielding a Niall Morgan kick-out.

Tyrone’s Cathal McShane and Derry’s Brendan Rogers. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho

On Morgan himself, Derry hunted him down. They placed five men in front of him when he went to belt over his 45 after 21 minutes, in a reprise of the famous stunt they pulled on Morgan’s Championship debut in Ballybofey in 2013.

Two of Morgan's kick-outs went straight out of play and in the very next play after Kennedy was dismissed, Ethan Doherty probed the Tyrone defence by playing Paul Cassidy in with a backdoor pass. Morgan strained to get contact but pulled Cassidy down. Coming just three minutes after the red card it was a big call by referee Paddy Neilan, but they were also clear-cut decisions.

Shane McGuigan cruised up and sent Morgan the other way.

That had Derry 1-7 to 0-4 up on 27 minutes. They never lost that cushion.

By half-time, the game was up. Tyrone had scored one point from play, and that being a spectacular effort from Darren McCurry coming on the loop. At the break, they took off All-Star Cathal McShane and Frank Burns.

"We weren't playing as well as we should have been, I don't think that's any secret," said Tyrone joint-manager Brian Dooher afterwards.

“You’re hoping to build gradually and get a bit of momentum as time went on. Obviously that didn’t happen. There’s no hiding places out there, it’s not a place to go if you’re not right and at it, and we found out today, we weren’t at the races. That’s the harsh reality of it.”

But when they looked to the bench, there was nobody there with the quality of a Tiernan McCann or a Mark Bradley to come in.

In total, they scored 0-3 from play.

The decision to start Conor McKenna – freed from suspension midweek – in front of Darragh Canavan also seemed to backfire. McKenna was outplayed by his markers Conor Doherty and later Pádraig McGrogan. By the 60th minute, his frustration got the better of him and he threw the ball at Ethan Doherty.

Neilan gave him his second yellow card. And it was Tyrone’s eighth red card this season from nine games.

Derry will head for another day in the sun when they take on Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final. For Tyrone, it’s the hard road of the qualifiers route and a break until the end of May to get things right.

“You hope that you can regroup and get over this and get it out of the system,” stated Dooher.

“We can dwell on it surely but there’s no point. We have an opportunity where it’s not all lost yet, hopefully we grasp that opportunity.”

TYRONE: 1 N Morgan (0-1, a 45); 2 M McKernan, 3 R McNamee (0-1), 4 P Hampsey; 5 R Brennan, 6 F Burns, 17 P Harte; 8 C Kilpatrick, 9 B Kennedy; 10 C Meyler, 7 N Sludden, 12 K McGeary; 13 D McCurry (0-4, two frees), 14 C McShane (0-2, two frees), 21 C McKenna

Subs: 15 D Canavan (0-2, one free, one mark) for McShane (11 mins), M O'Neill for Burns (both h/t), 22 B McDonnell for Brennan (55), 19 C Monroe for Sludden (66), 24 M Conroy for McGeary (70)

Red cards: Kennedy (27), McKenna (60).

DERRY: 1 O Lynch; 2 C McKaigue, 3 B Rogers, 4 C McCluskey; 5 C Doherty (0-2), 6 G McKinless (0-1), 7 P McGrogan; 8 C Glass, 22 N Toner; 10 P Cassidy, 11 S Downey, 12 E Doherty (0-1); 13 B Heron (0-2), 14 S McGuigan (1-4, 1-0 pen, two frees), 15 N Loughlin (0-7, five frees, one 45).

Subs: 9 E Bradley (0-1, mark) for Toner (55 mins), 19 Pádraig Cassidy for Paul Cassidy (65), 21 L Murray for Heron (67), 18 B McCarron for E Doherty, 17 P McNeill for Downey (both 70).

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).