The latest clash of the neighbours from across the Sperrins proved to be the most convincing win yet for Tyrone in National League as they swept to a nine point victory, 2-15 TO 0-12.
Having edged two close encounters in McKenna Cup, the sizeable and confident home crowd at Omagh’s Healy Park on Saturday night was expecting more of the same.
But sweet-moving Tyrone were too strong in every department as they inched closer to a return to the top flight, and dealt a blow to their opponents’ hopes of doing likewise.
The visitors had led by two points with thirteen minutes gone, but Tyrone proceeded to hit eight of the next ten scores for a 0-10 to 0-6 interval lead and they never looked back.
Captain Sean Cavanagh crashed in a 50th minute goal and there was no way back for Damian Barton’s men.
Derry keeper Eoin McNicholl had kept his side in the game with a fabulous first half save to thwart halfback Barry Tierney but he was helpless to prevent Cavanagh’s thunderbolt from hitting the roof of the net, before defender Aidan McCrory put the icing on the cake with a second goal in the last attack.
It was the best display of the campaign to date for Tyrone while for Derry it was a night to forget, they finished the game with fourteen men after captain Chrissy McKaigue picked up a second booking in the closing stages.
Tyrone had the opening score within twenty seconds through Kieran McGeary but Derry were soon level with a fine effort from McKaigue.
The early exchanges were played at a frantic pace, a trend that was to continue throughout the first half. Richard Donnelly, superb throughout, lofted over the first of his four points from play.
But Derry hit back with Ciaran McFaul, Emmet Bradley and James Kielt all on target for a 0-4 to 0-2 lead.
That was as good as it was to get for them as, gradually, Tyrone began to get on top. The accurate Ronan O’Neill converted two long range frees to level matters, the second after the referee failed to give Sean Cavanagh an advantage before the Moy man set up Tiernan McCann to net.
Cavanagh cut in from the left for a superb score and after Peter Harte was on target O’Neill knocked over another placed ball.
Ryan Bell replied for Derry before Kielt made it a one point game. Tyrone though closed the half out with unanswered scores from Donnelly, O’Neill and McGeary.
Inside sixty seconds of the second half Donnelly had extended Tyrone’s lead and, while Bell replied for Derry, it was clear the home side had the bit between their teeth.
Christopher Bradley and O’Neill exchanged scores before good work from McCann saw him provide the pass for Cavanagh to blast home.
Hardworking substitute Conor Meyler tagged on a point and, at 1-14 to 0-9, Derry had no way back.
Cavanagh raced through on goal again but this time he fired wide when it seemed easier to score as the league leaders continued to make all the running.
O’Neill converted his fifth free of the night and while Emmett McGuckin replied from play for Derry it scarcely raised a cheer.
Derry lost McKaigue to a second before McCann again provided the pass for McCrory to put gloss on the scoreboard with a neat finish to bottom left hand corner of the net.