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Donnelly plays captain's role to save day for Tyrone

Kildare 0-18 Tyrone 1-16

Mattie Donnelly
Mattie Donnelly

By Kevin Kelly

Mattie Donnelly proved to be the Tyrone hero at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge yesterday afternoon as he landed a sensational winner deep into injury time to deny hosts Kildare a share of the spoils.

Both sides looked as though they were going to break their points duck at the third time of asking but Red Hands captain Donnelly had other ideas with a superb winner for the Ulster champions for a result that lifts them of the foot of the Division One table.

Kildare looked the better side for most of the first half but they still trailed 1-8 to 0-10 at the break thanks to an opportunist Lee Brennan goal for the visitors in the 28th minute.

Cathal McShane played a high ball in from the right wing which Brennan collected before firing low into the bottom right hand corner of the net past keeper Mark Donnellan.

Kildare started the game brightly as they raised four white flags courtesy of Kevin Feely, Fergal Conway (2) and Ben McCormack. It took Tyrone until the 13th minute to open their account via Niall Sludden.

Paddy Kelly and Brennan traded points before wing half back Tiernan McCann ventured forward to split the posts as well. Brennan knocked over another free but Kildare quickly moved four in front again thanks to efforts from Feely, Daniel Flynn and keeper Donnellan from a '45'.

Sludden closed the gap and after Brennan had found the net Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan drilled over a long range free. McAliskey then had a goal chance but his chip just cleared the bar before Sludden was on target again. Kildare had the final say of the half through Keely as Tyrone somehow found their noses in front at the break.

Niall Kelly and McShane exchanged early second half scores before Flynn levelled matters. Tyrone midfielder Padraig McNulty then edged the visitors in front before Brennan extended that advantage from another place ball.

Feely and McAliskey swapped points from frees before the former, who top scored with 0-9 to his name, slotted over another brace of frees to level matters.

Tyrone substitute Darren McCurry nudged his side back in front but with time running out the lead changed hands again.

First of all Feely landed another free before a superb Cain O'Donoghue point put Kildare in front. Donnelly sent over the equaliser before a brilliant effort from McShane looked to have won it for Tyrone.

The drama wasn't finished yet though as Feely's eighth free of the afternoon looked to have salvaged a draw for the Lilywhites but Donnelly had the final say five minutes into injury time to win the day for the Ulster champions.

Kildare: M Donnellan (0-1, 45); P Kelly (0-1), D Hyland, M O'Grady; J Byrne, E Doyle, C O'Donoghue (0-1); K Feely (0-9, 8F), T Moolick; F Conway (0-2), N Kelly (0-1), P Cribbin (0-1); B McCormack (0-1), D Flynn (0-1), P Brophy. Subs: J Hyland for McCormack, L Flynn for Moolick, C Healy for Kelly, K Cribben for Conway, C McNally for Brophy

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-1, 1f); H P McGeary, P Hampsey, C McCarron; T McCann (0-1), R Brennan, C McLaughlin; M Donnelly (0-2), P McNulty (0-1); C Meyler, N Sludden (0-3), P Harte; L Brennan (1-3, 3F), C McShane (0-2), C McAliskey (0-2, 1F). Subs: M McKernan for McLaughlin, D McCurry (0-1) for R Brennan, R McNamee for McNulty, C McCann for L Brennan, M Bradley for McAliskey, K McGeary for T McCann

Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon)

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