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Tyrone are back in business after frustrating Mayo

Mayo 1-7 - 1-11 Tyrone

Holding on: Mayo’s Jason Doherty and Tyrone’s Darren McCurry clash at Castlebar yesterday
Holding on: Mayo’s Jason Doherty and Tyrone’s Darren McCurry clash at Castlebar yesterday

By Kevin Kelly

Tyrone produced a determined display at McHale Park in Castlebar yesterday afternoon to upset the odds by beating Connacht champions Mayo in front of a crowd in excess of 9,000.

After losing heavily to Monaghan on the first day out, the pressure was on Mickey Harte's charges but they came up with a game plan that frustrated their opponents and helped them collect their first league points of the campaign.

Tyrone defended in numbers throughout and never gave Mayo any time on the ball while they broke at pace to hit the hosts on the counter-attack.

Ahead by four points at the break, Tyrone were looking good but when substitute Cillian O'Connor bagged a goal within five minutes of coming on, the momentum seemed to be with Mayo.

Crucially, though, Tyrone got in for a major of their own when a great ball from Sean Cavanagh released PJ Lavery who set up Peter Harte to finish to the net and they never looked back.

Mayo had plenty of possession but their shooting was dreadful as they kicked 15 wides although credit has to go to Tyrone for putting them under pressure.

Tyrone made two late changes with Justin McMahon and Cathal McShane replacing Ronan O'Neill and Niall McKenna while Aidan O'Shea came into the Mayo midfield in place of his brother Seamus.

The visitors meant business from the off and Darren McCurry had the ball over the bar inside the opening minute. Moments later, McShane, who was making his National League debut, doubled their advantage.

Jason Doherty opened Mayo's account from a free but the home side were struggling to make an impact against a well-marshalled and tough tackling Tyrone defence.

Mattie Donnelly, operating at centre half forward, landed a beauty from distance and that was quickly followed by a Cavanagh free.

Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan ventured upfield but lost possession and he was punished with Mark Ronaldson pointing and moments later the gap was down to one when Michael Conroy was on target.

That's when Tyrone lifted their game with Tiernan McCann taking a good point from play and Morgan knocking over two frees, one of which was from 48m out.

At the other end, Cathal McCarron cleared a Conroy shot off the line as Tyrone led 0-8 to 0-4 at the break.

Doherty and Donnelly swapped points on the restart before Mayo were dealt a blow when they lost O'Shea to a black card.

In the 50th minute, though, Mayo were right back in contention when substitute O'Connor finished to the net from close range after a shot from Kevin McLoughlin had come back off the post.

Seven minutes later, Harte got Tyrone's goal to put them five in front again.

O'Connor landed a brilliant free but the visitors replied with an outstanding effort from play from out on the left wing from McCurry.

That proved to be their last score of the game as they fought a rearguard action in the final 10 minutes.

Mayo attacked in droves but they couldn't penetrate the Tyrone defence, kicking a number of poor wides.

An O'Connor free was all that they had to show for their efforts in those closing stages as Tyrone came out on top.

Mayo: D Clarke, M Hall, K Keane, K Higgins, L Keegan, S Coen, C Boyle, A O'Shea, D Vaughan, D O'Connor, K McLoughlin (0-1), J Doherty (0-2), M Conroy (0-1), A Freeman, M Ronaldson (0-1). Subs - Barry Moran for O'Shea [black card], C O'Connor (1-2) for Ronaldson, P Durcan for Boyle, M Sweeney for Freeman, A Dillon for D O'Connor, G Cafferkey for Keegan

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-2), A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron, R McNabb, J McMahon, P Harte (1-0), C Cavanagh, P McNulty, T McCann (0-1), M Donnelly (0-2), P Hughes, D McCurry (0-4), S Cavanagh (0-1), C McShane (0-1). Subs - C McCann for McNulty, PJ Lavery for McShane, N McKenna for McCurry, B Tierney for McNamee

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois)


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