» Ulster Football Preview – DERRY vs TYRONE

26 May

Ulster Football Preview – DERRY vs TYRONE

Posted by Darren Kelly in Match Previews / Reports,News | May 2017

DERRY vs TYRONE (Sunday, 28th May – 2pm Celtic Park)

Cork’s victory has the championship summer purring for more shocks and Derry will be looking for their own story as they attempt to dethrone Mickey Harte’s Tyrone.

The Oak Leafers had a disappointing spring. Despite victories over promoted Kildare and Fermanagh, home losses to Down and Cork resulted in Damian Barton’s side dropping to Division Three for 2018. This was after reaching the McKenna Cup Final taking a heavy defeat to the Red Hands (their sixth consecutive loss to Tyrone).

Derry have home advantage for the fifth consecutive year but have only managed one win in their previous four Ulster outings in Celtic park and went down tamely to Tyrone in 2016. Two Ronan O’Neill goals and one for Peter Harte gave Tyrone a 3-8 to 0-6 lead before they ran out 11-point winners.

But after drawing with Dublin and beating Monaghan, Tyrone lost their last three league outings in Division One and finished in sixth place. They are strong favourites to successfully begin their provincial title defence but Derry supporters will be quick to point out that they only missed the All-Ireland quarter-finals (the same round Tyrone reached) after losing to Tipperary by one point.

James Kielt’s suspension is a blow for Derry’s chances but they have players hoping to bring them to a level they haven’t reached in some time. Niall Keenan and Chrissy McKaigue are two strong defenders; Conor McAtamney will hover around the middle; while Benny Heron, Emmet McGuckin, Enda Lynn and Mark Lynch will be ones to watch up front.

Tyrone are without Cathal McCarron (hamstring) and Justin McMahon (quad). Jonathan Munroe recently left the panel while Joe McMahon announced his retirement limiting Harte’s defensive options. And their lack of goals (three in seven league outings) is a concern but in his final season, Sean Cavanagh is named for his 85th championship match.

Niall Morgan in goal; Ronan McNamee and Tiernan McCann in defence; Niall Sludden and Peter Harte in attack along with Mattie Donnelly will be key for the visitors.

Tyrone are 1/4 favourites, Derry 4/1 with the draw 10/1. Cork had form coming into their hurling meeting with Tipperary but bar beating Fermanagh in their last league match, it’s hard to say Derry have shown anything to concern their opponents.

Verdict: Tyrone

Build-Up: DERRY vs TYRONE (The Six To Watch!)

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