Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Tyrone hurlers' ray of light extinguished

If Tyrone manager Tony Fawl saw his side offer a glimmer of encouragement in going down gallantly to Donegal last weekend in Division 3B of the National Hurling League, then that shaft of optimism was effectively extinguished yesterday when the Red Hands were crushed by Roscommon at Athleague with a humiliating 8-15 to 1-6 scoreline.

Seamus McLoughrey’s early goal for Tyrone proved the ultimate false dawn as Roscommon, ahead by a modest 2-5 to 1-3 at the interval, annihilated their visitors in the second period.

They tacked on six further goals including three in a scorching opening salvo with Johnny Coyne, who ended with a personal haul of 4-1, as executioner-in-chief as last year’s Lory Meagher Cup winners were brought to their knees.

This was a particularly chastening experience for Fawl and his players and underlined the difficulties they face in the future for the remainder of the competition.

But there was more joy in the same division for Donegal.

Andrew Wallace’s side carried enough forward power to eventually tame Louth by 1-21 to 3-10 with the influential Niall Campbell again underlining his value to the winners who remain unbeaten in their quest for promotion. But Wallace will have concerns about the manner in which his side leaked three goals to a limited Louth outfit.

There were mixed fortunes for Ulster teams in Division 4 with Fermanagh getting off the mark against Leitrim whom they beat by 1-16 to 0-14.

The Ernesiders produced a strong finish yesterday and have raised hopes that they can improve further.

But South Down suffered a rather surprising reverse at home to Monaghan falling by 0-15 to |0-10 in an extremely tempestuous showdown that was sadly blighted by three red cards.

South Down pair Aidan Brown and Micheal Cunningham were sent off as was Monaghan’s James Connolly.

Paul O’Neill top-scored for South Down with four points while his Ballyvarley club colleague James McGrath was also impressive but the talented duo were unable to stem the visitors’ tide.

Michael McHugh swept over four points from play for the winners whose overall pace and fluent stickwork proved too much for their hosts.

South Down must now strive to make up lost ground when they meet Longford next weekend.

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