Mickey Harte's Red Hands end Down's dream
Ulster Senior Football replay: Down 0-12 3-11 Tyrone
Tyrone got the job done at the second attempt as they came out on top at Pairc Esler last night.
Two Ciaran McGinley goals and a Peter Harte penalty ended Down's dream of causing an upset.
Mickey Harte reshuffled his pack and found the winning formula at the second attempt, finally managing to shore up a defence that had been a major cause of concern.
Down missed a penalty inside the opening minute as the game started in dramatic fashion. Peter Harte was penalised for a rash challenge on Conor Maginn, but Aidan Carr smashed his kick down the middle and straight at Niall Morgan.
The goalkeeper effectively made a five-point contribution with his penalty save and two points from long-range placed balls, with Ronan O'Neill and Harte also chipping in with scores as the Red Hands moved into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 14th minute.
A couple of Donal O'Hare frees narrowed the gap, but in the 23rd minute, Sean Cavanagh conjured a goal for Tyrone with a direct ball through the middle for McGinley.
The Errigal Ciaran man failed to control, but the ball fell kindly at his feet and he adjusted himself well to execute a neat and accurate first-time finish on the floor past Brendan McVeigh.
With little over five minutes of the first half remaining, Down trailed by six and appeared to be slipping into trouble.
But they finished with the last four points of the half, from Conor Laverty, Maginn, O'Hare and surprise inclusion Dan Gordon, making his first appearance in two seasons.
Tyrone led by 1-6 to 0-7 at the break, and rocked James McCartan's side with a second McGinley goal just 40 seconds into the second half.
Stephen O'Neill, on as a half-time sub, had a hand in the move that McGinley finished with a bullet-like shot from an angle. Tyrone also came close to a third when Sean Cavanagh smacked a shot against the crossbar.
However they did claim goal number three when Harte drilled home a penalty, awarded for Kevin McKernan's push on Ronan McNabb.
Jerome Johnston sent a shot against the butt of a post at the other end, and the breaks appeared to be going in Tyrone's favour as they began to play with the confidence of a side with an eight-point cushion.
Harte smashed a shot against a post as well, but despite a flurry of missed chances, Tyrone managed to keep a lid on their opponents' bid to repeat their comeback heroics of six days previous. O'Hare did pull back a couple of frees on his way to a 0-6 tally, but the Tyrone rearguard, with Justin McMahon and Ronan McNamee back in harness, was much more solid than of late, and they closed out the game.
Scorers – Tyrone: C McGinley 2-1, P Harte 1-1 (1-0 pen), N Morgan 0-3 (2f, 1 '45), D McCurry 0-2 (2f), M Donnelly, R O'Neill, N McKenna, C McAliskey 0-1 each Down: D O'Hare 0-6 (4f), C Laverty 0-2, C Maginn, B Coulter, D Gordon, C Garvey 0-1 each.
Down: B McVeigh; D McCartan, B McArdle, R Boyle; D Rooney, A Carr, C Garvey; D Gordon, J Johnston; C Maginn, M Poland, K McKernan; D O'Hare, N Madine, C Laverty. Subs: B Coulter for Carr (44), R Johnston for Madine (47), A Rogers for J Johnston (59), D Turley for Gordon (63).
Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, J McMahon, R McNamee; R McNabb, M Donnelly, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C Clarke; E McKenna, S Cavanagh, C McGinley; D McCurry, R O'Neill, K Coney. Subs: S O'Neill for McKenna (h-t), C Gormley for McNamee (h-t), N McKenna for Coney (50), M Penrose for McCurry (63), C McAliskey for R O'Neill (67), D McBride for Donnelly (68).
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).
Source: Irish Independent
Belfast Telegraph Digital