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Tyrone on the march as Mickey Harte praises players' passion and Kildare rue missed chances


By Kevin Kelly

Tyrone had to pull out all the stops to advance to the fourth round of the All-Ireland Qualifiers when they came through a tough battle with Kildare in Newbridge on Saturday evening.

The visitors played some good football in the opening half and they looked to be well on their way when establishing a six-point lead.

However, the hosts rallied after the break, though, to get back on level terms and when Tyrone captain Stephen O'Neill's penalty was saved it looked as though it was going to be Kildare's day.

However, Tyrone showed great grit to raise their game again to set up a mouth-watering date with Meath at Croke Park next Saturday.

Red Hands manager Mickey Harte was particularly pleased with the players' performance.

"The workload was shared with different players stepping up at different times and that was pleasing and that is what it takes to win championship matches like that," said Harte.

"We worked very hard with Stevie [O'Neill] giving us a great authority up front but I could name a number of players who played well.

"The missed penalty could have been a major turning point but I think that it says a lot for our players the way that they reacted.

"It was a very intense match and it was great to be a part of it.

"After losing to Donegal in the first round of the Ulster championship, we were four games away from the All Ireland quarter finals and now we are only seventy minutes away.

"Having said that, so are Meath...but if we play like we did today we won't be far away."

It was a first ever home defeat for the Lilywhites in the qualifiers and their manager Kieran McGeeney blamed a lacklustre first half display for their downfall.

"We worked very hard in the second half and we probably just gave ourselves too much to do", said the Armagh man.

"We were very sloppy in the first half and gave the ball away too much and you can't do that against a side like Tyrone. We had numerous chances to score but failed to take them.

"The lads battled to the end and they have to be commended for that but in the end Tyrone deserved their win."

Kildare took the lead in the opening attack through Johnny Doyle but that was to be the only time that they would have their noses in front.

Frees from Darren McCurry and Sean Cavanagh edged Tyrone in front before Mattie Donnelly crashed a shot to the roof of the net in the 10th minute.

Doyle and Niall Kelly responded with Kildare points but it was Tyrone who were doing all the running with Donnelly and Cavanagh both landing superb efforts from distance as the visitors led 1-6 to 0-4 at the break.

However, Kildare came roaring back and drew level by the ninth minute with scores from Doyle, Kelly, Padraig O'Neill and Eoghan O'Flaherty.

Moments later, Tyrone had a great chance to wipe that start out when Mark Donnelly was brought down for a penalty but O'Neill's spot kick was brilliantly saved by Kildare 'keeper Shane Connolly.

A McCurry free edged Tyrone in front but Kildare wasted no time in responding with another placed ball from Doyle.

In the 23rd minute, Mark Donnelly fisted Tyrone into the lead before Kildare were reduced to fourteen men when full-back Peter Kelly picked up his second yellow card. Martin Penrose converted the resulting free and when centre half back Peter Harte drove over the gap was up to four.

Kildare set up a tense finish with points from Doyle and Sean Johnston, the latter of which which proved to be the last kick of the game as Tyrone held on to advance.

Kildare: S Connolly, D Hyland, P Kelly, H McGrillen, E Callaghan, M O'Flaherty, E Bolton, D Flynn, P O'Neill [0-1], D Flynn, N Kelly [0-2], E O'Flaherty [0-1], J Doyle [0-6], T O'Connor, P Brophy. Subs – P Cribbin [0-1] for Flynn, S Hurley for Callaghan, E Doyle for O'Connor, S Johnston [0-1] for O'Neill, A Smith for Kelly.

Tyrone: P McConnell, A McCrory, C Clarke, C McCarron, R McKenna, P Harte [0-1], C Gormley, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh [0-4], Mattie Donnelly [1-1], Mark Donnelly [0-1], Joe McMahon, D McCurry [0-3], S O'Neill, M Penrose [0-1]. Subs – A Cassidy for C Cavanagh, D Carlin for McKenna, K Coney for McCurry, C McAliskey for O'Neill, Justin McMahon for McCarron.

Referee: J McQuillan (Cava).

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