Dr McKenna Cup final: Dominant Tyrone ease to three-point win over Monaghan

Tyrone have dominated the McKenna Cup in recent years
Tyrone have dominated the McKenna Cup in recent years

Tyrone secured an eighth McKenna Cup success in nine years with a dominant three-point victory over Monaghan at the Athletic Grounds.

Ronan O'Neill scored four points and Darren McCurry hit three as the Red Hands eased to a 0-11 to 1-05 win in a lacklustre final.

Barry McBennett scored the Farneymen's goal three minutes into injury-time.

It was the 17th time Tyrone have lifted the McKenna Cup and the 12th success under manager Mickey Harte.

Monaghan suffered a major blow in the first minute of the match when Colin Walshe had to go off with what looked like a bad ankle injury.

Harte's men reached Saturday's decider with a 2-16 to 1-10 win over Down in their semi-final meeting last Sunday.

Monaghan earned a bye through to the final in Armagh after Donegal's decision to pull out of the scheduled second semi-final because of player availability issues.

Following the withdrawal, the final was played against a backdrop of ex-county stars Brendan Devenney and Eamon McGee questioning the wisdom of attempting to maintain the pre-season competition in an increasingly congested fixtures calendar.

Shane Carey scored a point for Monaghan, who last won the trophy in 2003
Shane Carey scored a point for Monaghan, who last won the trophy in 2003

Tyrone started the game strongly and when Daniel Kerr scored in the 10th minute it gave them a 0-3 to 0-1 lead, with goalkeeper Niall Morgan passing up the opportunity of increasing the lead when he was off target with a free.

Conor McCarthy then hit a quick-fire double to bring the Farneymen level before Harte's side regained control of the match to build a five-point lead at the break.

Substitute Darren McCurry impressed with three points, the highlight being an outstanding piece skill and finish for the final score of the half to make it 0-8 to 0-3 at the interval.

The tempo of the game dropped in the second-half on a cold evening in Armagh, with three points from O'Neill keeping Tyrone in the ascendancy before Monaghan's late goal.

It came after a Dessie Ward attempt at a point hit the post and McBennett was alert to collect the rebound and slot home from close range.

It gave a closer look to the scoreline at the end of a match in which Tyrone were rarely threatened and always looked like winning.

Monaghan: C Forde, D Wylie, C Walshe, C Boyle, S Carey 0-2, R Wylie, P Keenan, N Kearns, B McBennett 1-0, M P O'Dowd, R McAllister, D Ward, C McCarthy 0-3, K McEnaney, P Donnelly.

Substitutes: R Beggan, D Malone, R McAnespie, K Hughes, K Duffy, K O'Connell, J Irwin, C McManus, M Brannigan, A Mulligan, A Woods.

Tyrone: N Morgan; C Quinn, R McNamee, HP McGeary; M Cassidy, M O'Neill 0-1, T McCann; B McDonnell, C Grugan; C Meyler, D Mulgrew, K McGeary 0-1; R O'Neill 0-4, F Burns 0-1, Daniel Kerr 0-1.

Substitutes: B Gallen, C McCavanagh, M Murnaghan, C Grimes, A McCrory, D McCurry 0-3, C McLaughlin, N Sludden.

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