All-Ireland Quarter-Final: Dublin 1-15 Tyrone 0-13
Tyrone sense the end of the line
It's not often that the mantle of favourites proves an intolerable burden for Tyrone, a team for whom success has become almost a way of life since Mickey Harte slipped into the hotseat eight years ago.
But today as the Red Hands sift through the debris of their ill-fated All Ireland challenge they are slowly but surely coming to terms with one inescapable fact – the old order is changing.
For the best part of the past decade Tyrone, Kerry and Armagh have been the high kings of a football empire that brooked no change in its status quo. Now though other teams that might have been regarded as mere imposters have suddenly acquired the demeanour and confidence to join the ruling class.
And Dublin have left no-one in any doubt that they fit comfortably into this bracket — a fact already acknowledged by Harte himself following his side’s inglorious exit from the top table at which they have dined so lavishly in the recent past.
Ironically, Harte’s summation provides further confirmation that Pat Gilroy’s side terminated Tyrone’s quest for a fourth All Ireland title by deploying the precise attributes which have served his own team so well in the past.
“They worked extremely hard, they fought for every inch and they fully deserved their victory in the end. A lot of our players were put under strong pressure when taking their shots and that goes down to hard work on the part of Dublin” said Harte — an analysis, indeed, that has been applicable to the Red Hands on many occasions.
Ahead by a point at half-time (0-8 to 0-7) by which stage the ebullient Mulligan and the impressive Martin Penrose had scored seven points between them, Tyrone stayed on Dublin’s shoulder for the greater part of the second-half despite conceding territory and possession in the middle third and totting up that depressing litany of wides.
But with Brogan unmarkable, Cluxton majestic in goal, McConnell and McAuley buoyant in midfield and Brogan’s brother Alan, Bryan Cullen and substitute Conal Keaney chipping in with support up front, the Dubs were not to be denied.
If O’Gara, raw but robust, provided a Roy of the Rovers touch with his explosive goal, manager Pat Gilroy was in no doubt as to just why his team secured their semi-final passport.
“I could not have asked more from my team in terms of effort. They have grown in strength and resolve since their Leinster final defeat. Sticking at it might have been a problem for us in the past but everyone worked for each other this time and in the end the lads got their just reward,” said the quiet-spoken Gilroy.
His team undoubtedly have scaled a new peak — but in doing so they have deposited Tyrone into a sporting abyss.
TYRONE: P McConnell; C McCarron, Justin McMahon, R McMenamin; D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan (0-2); C Cavanagh, K Hughes; B Dooher, B McGuigan (0-1), Joe McMahon; M Penrose (0-5, 0-4 frees), S Cavanagh, O Mulligan (0-5, 0-3 frees). Subs: D Carlin for McCarron (24 mins), S O’Neill for Harte (half-time), E McGinley for Hughes (60), P Harte for Penrose (63). Yellow cards: McCarron (21 mins), Carlin (65).
DUBLIN: S Cluxton (0-1, ‘45’); M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon (0-1); K Nolan, G Brennan, B Cahill; R McConnell, M D McAuley (0-1); N Corkery, A Brogan (0-1), B Cullen (0-1); D Henry, E O'Gara (1-0), B Brogan (0-9, 0-5 frees). Subs:P Flynn for Cahill (36), E Fennell for Corkery (42), C Keaney (0-1) for A Brogan. Yellow cards: McMahon (22 mins), McConnell (24), McAuley (50), Fennell (53), Flynn (66).
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).