Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport GAA Tyrone

Last-gasp Tyrone show real character

By Kevin Kelly

Kildare 1-21 Tyrone 3-16: Tyrone somehow escaped from Newbridge yesterday afternoon with two league points after one of the most dramatic finishes to a National League game in years.

Ahead by five points with normal time up, a superb Kildare side looked destined for a deserved win but Tyrone had other ideas as they scored two goals inside 60 seconds from Ronan O'Neill and substitute Mark Donnelly to claim what had looked an unlikely victory.

On the 10th anniversary of the death of Cormac McAnallen, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was in no doubt that the former captain's spirit helped his side.

"Kildare dominated for long spells of the game playing some superb football and there is no doubt that if you were them you would be disappointed to have lost that game," said Harte.

"We were happy to be only a point behind at the break but when they got their goal it wasn't looking good. You have to commend our boys though for their never say die attitude.

"I have no doubt Cormac played his part there today. We remembered him at Mass this morning and in all the team talks and we asked the players to bring the spirit that he would have and they did him proud."

Kildare were rampant in the early stages as they kicked seven points in the opening 10 minutes with Eoghan O'Flaherty to the fore and Paddy Brophy and Darroch Mulhall also on target. Mattie Donnelly opened Tyrone's account and then moments later O'Neill was unlucky to hit the bar with an effort that went over.

Kildare, though, continued to dominate and they soon established a 0-10 to 0-3 lead. Things got worse for Tyrone when they had defender Peter Harte black carded, but a brilliant Emmett McKenna goal coupled with points from Connor McAliskey and O'Neill left them only one in arrears at the interval.

Full forward Tomas O'Connor palmed in a goal in the opening minutes of the second half and after that the visitors were always chasing the game. Brophy, O'Flaherty, Mulhall and Sean Hurley had Kildare points but Tyrone stayed in the game through efforts from Sean Cavanagh, Mark Donnelly and O'Neill.

Kildare continued to look the better side and each time Tyrone scored they were able to respond. O'Flaherty's sixth point seemed to have sealed the game when they moved five clear but all the drama was still to come.

Darren McCurry squared the ball for O'Neill to finish in style but it still looked to be only a consolation score.

However, the visitors weren't finished yet and when a shot from Mattie Donnelly spun in the air, Kyle Coney won possession and squared it for Mark Donnelly to finish to the net from two yards out.

It was the only time that the visitors led during the match but it was also the most important time.

KILDARE: S Connolly, M O'Grady [0-1], M Foley, H McGrillen, K Murnaghan, F Conway, P Cribbin [0-1], T Moolick [0-1], G White, C McNally [0-2], E O'Flaherty [0-6,2f], S Hurley [0-2], P Brophy [0-3], T O'Connor [1-0], D Mulhall [0-5, 2f]. Subs: D Hyland for Conway [47], P Fogarty for O'Connor [56], P O'Neill for McNally [57], J Gately for White [65], F Dowling for Mulhall [67]D Flynn for Moolick [70]

TYRONE: N Morgan [0-1, 1f], A McCrory, C Clarke, B Tierney, C McGinley, P Harte, R McKenna, C Grugan, C Cavanagh, E McKenna [1-2], R O'Neill [1-5,3f], S Cavanagh [0-1], D McCurry [0-1,1f], Mattie Donnelly [0-3], C McAliskey [0-2]. Subs: R McNamee for Harte [BC 26], Mark Donnelly [1-1] for Grugan [HT], R McNabb for R McKenna [47], N McKenna for McGinley [51], K Coney for E McKenna [59]

REFEREE: P O'Sullivan (Kerry)

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph