Dr McKenna Cup: Tyrone beat Antrim to book semi-final spot

Emmet Killough and Barry Tierney in action at Clones
Emmet Killough and Barry Tierney in action at Clones

Tyrone beat Antrim 1-11 to 0-7 at Clones to book a Dr McKenna Cup semi-final place against big rivals Armagh.

Two points from Sean Cavanagh helped the Red Hands to a 0-7 to 0-4 half-time lead and Kyle Coney then found the net three minutes after half-time.

Man-of-the-match Cavanagh's long-range effort came off the bar and fell into the path of Coney, who slotted home.

The result made it three Section C wins out of three for Tyrone, who remain on course for a fourth successive triumph.

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Mickey Harte happy with McKenna run as Tyrone set up Armagh game

The rearranged game was moved from Healy Park to Clones because of the adverse weather conditions and Mickey Harte made nine changes to the side which defeated St Mary's 1-12 to 0-3 at Healy Park in Tyrone's previous match.

Having seen off Armagh in their opener, the holders just needed to avoid defeat to make the last four of the pre-season competition.

Sean McVeigh registered the first score of the game for Antrim but goalkeeper Niall Morgan replied with a 45 metre free in the 10th minute.

Dr McKenna Cup Section C
Armagh 1-10 1-12 TyroneSunday 4 January
Antrim 1-7 0-9 St Mary'sSunday 4 January
Antrim 1-4 2-11 ArmaghSunday 11 January
Tyrone 1-12 0-3 St Mary'sSunday 11 January
Armagh 2-11 0-14 St Mary'sWednesday 14 January
Tyrone 1-11 0-7 AntrimSunday 18 January

CJ McGourty restored the Saffrons' advantage with a free but Plunkett Kane, Coney and Darren McCurry pointed for Tyrone to nudge their side two points ahead.

Antrim played defensively with a sweeper and two points from Owen Gallagher, both from play, kept them in touch.

The final two scores of the half fell to Conor McAliskey and Cavanagh, but Tyrone's lead should have been greater as they failed to convert three good goal opportunities.

Chris Kerr saved at the feet of Coney and made a fingertip save to deny Cavanagh, while McAliskey blazed over the bar from 10m with just Kerr to beat.

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Frank Fitzsimons encouraged by Antrim display against Tyrone

Coney's goal was the defining moment of the match, although Michael Pollock and Colm Fleming went close to finding the net for Frank Fitzsimons's side.

Cavanagh took his overall tally to four points, with McCurry also prolific, while Antrim were restricted to just three second-half points, the pick of which came from McGourty and Pollock.

Tyrone's semi-final against the Orchard county will be played at the Athletic Grounds on Wednesday 21 January at 20:00 GMT.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte: "It's good to be in a McKenna Cup semi-final, although I'm disappointed that we created half a dozen goal chances and only managed to convert one.

"It's not ideal to potentially have three matches within a week but at this time of the year we welcome the competition and expect another tough encounter against Armagh, irrespective of the venue. Let's hope for another big crowd."

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