National Football League
Derry clawed back a seven-point second half deficit in their National League opener tonight to rescue a point against bitter rivals Tyrone.
Very rarely does a side walk away disappointed with a draw having looked down and out with just 15 minutes left on the clock. But such was the Oak Leafers' dominance by the end of the game that Brian McIver was left cursing his side's wasted opportunities.
It was Tyrone who started the brighter when Conan Grugan was left unmarked 20 metres from goal and the Red Hands midfielder hammered home past Thomas Mallon to open the visitors' account.
However, with Mark Lynch lined out at centre forward for Derry and Fergal Doherty making his long awaited league return in emphatic fashion, the home side weren't long in driving in front despite playing against a strong head wind.
Enda Lynn struck twice to join in with scores from Lynch, man of the match Sean Leo McGoldrick, and ball-winner supreme Emmett McGuckin but Tyrone still led at the break with two points to spare at 1-7 to 0-8.
And it went from bad to worse in the second period after Darren McCurrie chipped home a blocked Thomas Mallon clearance in the Derry box as Mickey Harte's men raced ahead at 2-9 to 0-8.
Watched by a crowd of over four thousand though, the hosts were roared on in a white hot atmosphere that raised the roof of Celtic Park when Cailean O'Boyle fisted home a Sean Leo McGoldrick pass after the Coleraine man had scaled the length of the field. And, with Fergal Doherty in inspired form, the Bellaghy midfielder raised a white flag before James Kielt struck from distance along with Mark Lynch and Enda Lynn.
But Derry had chances to win it. They had chances when Doherty rattled the base of the post and Niall Morgan tipped another clear and Emmett McGuckin let an open goal squirm beneath his legs and, despite huffing and puffing, neither side could find enough to win it.
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