Harte a happy man as Tyrone win at long last
Tyrone 3-9 Cork 0-16
Tyrone went into this Healy Park encounter in dire need of points and that was reflected in their performance as they broke their Division One duck with a two point success to inflict a first defeat of the campaign on Cork.
After losing narrowly in their last two outings, this was more like it from the Ulster champions and manager Mickey Harte was delighted with the victory.
“It was a strange game I suppose in many ways,” said Harte.
“We opened very brightly and went into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead but to lose eight points in a row after that seemed unreal and you wondered where we were going to get the energy to fix this.
“Goals are very important and Colm Cavanagh tucked his away lovely and that gave us a real lift.
“Conor Gormley’s point was a crucial score and then the goal came after it and when we got another goal just before half time we probably didn’t believe the position that we were in given how we were five or six minutes before.
“They (Cork) were the ones who came out smarter for the second half and were very good in that period when they rattled off four or five points.
“It asked big questions of us again but I’m delighted that the boys did deliver the answers.
“It was a great team performance with different people at different times stepping up to the mark. You could single out a number of individuals about good things that they did but the work ethos was there and the team effort was there and that’s what pleases me more than anything — that was just good to see.
“That’s what persistence is about and there is a great belief in these men. I said that last week, and people maybe laughed at me when I said that I believed we were good enough to get out of here with a result. That was an important win in many ways, more than the two points — it was good for us to win that game.”
The opening 12 minutes saw the hosts totally on top and that was reflected on the scoreboard, Owen Mulligan notching a quality brace with Tommy McGuigan and Martin Penrose also on target as Cork looked very sluggish.
Gradually though the visitors got into their stride and for 20 minutes they left Tyrone chasing shadows as they rattled off eight unanswered points with Pearse O’Neill, Paul Kerrigan, Colm O’Neill and Daniel Goulding all on target with the latter unlucky not to get a goal when his shot cannoned off the crossbar.
Tyrone looked deflated but all that changed in an extraordinary three minute spell before the break as a superb point from defender Conor Gormley was followed by goals from Colm Cavanagh and Tommy McGuigan as the Red Hands found themselves 2-5 to 0-9 in front at the in
terval. No doubt Cork were in a state of shock but you would never have guessed it as on the restart they bombarded Tyrone again with Colm O’Neill, Goulding and Kerrigan all finding the range again as they landed five unanswered points.
It took Tyrone a quarter of an hour to open their second half account via an outstanding long range point from substitute Sean O’Neill but that was the launch pad for another fight back. Davy Harte and Mulligan had them level by the 17th minute and with Sean Cavanagh now in the fray and Aidan Cassidy and Colm Cavanagh winning the midfield battle, Tyrone were right back in business.
Cork though were still dangerous on the counter attack and when John Hayes and Goulding
edged them two clear again by the 24th minute it looked like it might take the sting out of the Tyrone challenge.
That’s when they showed what they are made of again as they held their opponents scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Cassidy burst past four challenges and was only denied by Cork keeper Ken O’Halloran but substitute Ryan Mellon was on hand to send the rebound to the net.
Penrose then added a point from a free for what proved to be the insurance score as Tyrone held on against 14 man Cork, the visitors having Donncha O’Connor straight red carded in injury time following an incident with McGuigan.
TYRONE: Curran, Swift, McMahon, McCarron, Harte (0-1), Gormley (0-1), McMenamin, Cassidy, C Cavanagh (1-0), Donnelly, McCusker, Mulgrew, T McGuigan (1-1), Penrose (0-2), Mulligan (0-3). Subs: S O’Neill (0-1) for Gormley, S Cavanagh for Donnelly, McCullagh for Mulgrew, Mellon (1-0) for McCusker
CORK: O’Halloran, Carey, Shields, Cotter, Kissane (0-1), O’Regan, O’Leary, A O’Connor, P O’Neill (0-2), Kerrigan (0-3), D O’Connor (0-1), Kelly, Goulding (0-3), O’Flynn, C O’Neill (0-5). Subs: J Hayes (0-1) for C O’Neill, O’Driscoll for O’Regan, Gould for O’Flynn
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)