Tyrone stand strong for title glory
Tyrone 1-17 - Fingal 1-16
Tyrone stunned pre-match favourites Fingal at Croke Park to lift their first title at this grade with a passionate display, inspired by their captain Damien Casey, who contributed eight classy points to the cause.
An opportunist Christopher Cross goal late in the first half gave them a lead they never lost, even after turning around with a one-point lead to face into the breeze in the second half.
Casey, Gerard Gilmore and Tiernan Morgan were on target early on as Tyrone laid down a strong marker.
Fingal were heavily dependent for scores on JM Sheridan, who claimed all five of their points in the opening 22 minutes, by which time the sides were deadlocked at 0-5 each.
But the Red Hands made a major breakthrough when Cross finished to the net from close range.
The Ulstermen took a 1-8 to 0-10 lead into the interval and claimed the opening four points of the second half in a crucial spell, Conor Grogan and Matthew Mulgrew getting their names on the scoresheet.
Midway through the half they built up an eight-point lead with some terrific Casey efforts, but there was some serious defending to be done as Fingal set about playing their way back into title contention from an extremely precarious position.
At the back, Stephen Donnelly, Ruairi Devlin and Martin Grogan were unflappable, clearing a series of dangerous situations, but inevitably, Fingal managed to chip away at the deficit.
Sheridan and substitutes Danny Butterley and Colm Foley fired over points and in stoppage time, full-forward Smyth plundered a goal to leave just a point between the sides.
But Tyrone had the conviction and the energy to see out the game and seize a prize that will provide a significant bonus for the game in the county.
Tyrone: C Cross 1-0, D Casey 0-8 (4fs), G Gilmore 0-4, M Mulgrew, T Morgan, C Grogan, M Winters, C McNally 0-1 each.
Fingal: D Smyth 1-2, JM Sheridan 0-10 (6fs, 2 '65'), C O'Flynn, D Kelly, D Butterley, C Foley 0-1 each.
Tyrone: J Devlin; C McNally, R Devlin, M O'Gorman; M Grogan, S Donnelly, A Kelly; M Winters, G Fox; C Grogan, T Morgan, C Cross; M Mulgrew, D Casey, G Gilmore. Subs: M Devlin for Winters, M Devlin for Winters, D Marshall for Gilmore.
Fingal: Ä H Murray Hession; P Coyne, N Ring, A Morris; B Kelly, D Vaughan, I Kennedy; D Hattie, P Sheridan; D Kelly, A Richardson, P Daly; C O'Flynn, S Smyth, JM Sheridan. Subs: D Buttlery for Richardson, C Foley for Kelly, C Foley for D Kelly
Referee: D O'Driscoll (Limerick).