Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Tyrone brought to brink by battling Roscommon

ROSCOMMON 1-7 TYRONE 0-12

Roscommon's Niall Carty and David Keenan with Sean Cavanagh of Tyrone

Tyrone were always on a hiding to nothing when they visited Doctor Hyde Park to take on Roscommon on Saturday afternoon with much so-called experts predicting an easy win for them but how wrong they were!

A Roscommon side who had been annihilated by Mayo in the Connaught semi-final fought as though their lives depended on it as they took Mickey Harte's charges to the pin of their collars. It wasn't a game that will live long in the memory with the home side putting everybody behind the ball in an attempt to upset the odds.

It was a tactic that looked as though it was paying dividends as they established a three-point lead after half an hour. Tyrone then hit nine unanswered points either side of the break to take a stranglehold on proceedings but the home side were far from finished yet.

They produced a spirited final quarter to hold the visitors to a single point and in the closing stages they had chances to cause a major upset but hit four wides from good scoring positions.

Joe McMahon captained Tyrone on the day in what was his 50th Championship game and he knew that his side weren't going to get it easy and hopes that the competitive nature of the game will stand to them as they attempt to progress further in the competition.

"Coming into this game we knew that it was going to be tough as Roscommon were always going to bounce back from their disappointing display against Mayo," said Joe.

"Last week, we got a great start to the game and Offaly never got a chance to get going but Roscommon had their homework done and gave us little time on the ball or space to work in. They were the better team at the start of the game as well as at the end of the game and that is something that we are going to have to take a look on as we move forward.

We played well at times when we moved of the shoulder and took some good scores but we were guilty of not putting the game beyond their grasp and we almost paid for that. We maybe sat back and were happy with getting that cushion.

We let Roscommon come onto us and put us under pressure. Sometimes it's difficult to keep that intensity going but as I said we would be very disappointed with the way that we finished the game and that is something that we are going to have to work at on the training field."

After twenty six minutes both sides had managed only two points each with Sean Cavanagh, Mark Donnelly, Conor Devaney and Neil Collins on target for their respective sides. Devaney then struck for an opportunist goal to really put the cat among the pigeons. Tyrone responded positively with efforts from Donnelly, Darren McCurry and Conor McAliskey saw them drawing level at half time.

Tyrone came out for the second half with all guns blazing with McCurry (4), Martin Penrose and Cavanagh all on target as they turned the screw on their opponents. Roscommon looked a beaten side at this stage but they were far from finished yet. Team captain Cathal Cregg hit a trio of points with Donie Shine on target as well to set up a grandstand finish. They missed chances though and a relieved Tyrone held on to go through to round three of the Qualifiers.

Roscommon: D O'Malley, N Collins [0-1], N Carty, S McDermott, D Keenan, N Daly, P Brogan, C Shine, K Mannion, C Daly, E Smith, I Kilbride, C Cregg [0-3], D Shine [0-1], C Devaney [1-1]. Subs: C Compton for Devaney, S Kilbride for Shine, D O'Gara for Smith, K Higgins [0-1] for I Kilbride, M Finneran for C Daly

Tyrone: P McConnell, R McKenna, J McMahon, C McCarron, C Clarke, P Harte, C Gormley, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh [0-2], Mattie Donnelly, Mark Donnelly [0-2], C McGinley, D McCurry [0-6], M Penrose [0-1], C McAliskey [0-1]. Subs: S Warnock for McKenna, R O'Neill for McAliskey, K Gallagher for Mattie Donnelly, K Coney for McCurry, P McNeice for Mark Donnelly

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

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