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Tyrone rue old flaws as Harte left baffled by Dublin blitz and key decisions


By Russell Pritchard

Tyrone have to make do with focusing on their Ulster Championship preliminary round clash against Down, after a first-half goal blitz from Dublin denied them a place in the league semi-finals.

Red Hands manager Mickey Harte was perplexed at some odd decisions made throughout by referee Marty Duffy.

Some of Dublin's play was straight out of the cynicism handbook. They committed 27 fouls as opposed to Tyrone's 9. They had eight yellow cards to Tyrone's three and goalkeeper Sean Currie amazingly escaped a black card after he pulled down Shay McGuigan in the large square.

"I suppose we were the ones who were supposed to be doing all the negative stuff in days gone by, but there you are. I hope there is the same outcry about it now," was Harte's reaction afterwards.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin had a different slant on things, commenting: "Marty Duffy controlled it well, people have been saying that the physicality is gone from Gaelic football and I think anyone here today to witness that in the stands would beg to differ."

There was also a refrain of sorts of the 1995 All-Ireland final between these two, when Paddy Russell had booked Charlie Redmond but he did not leave the field. After dismissing Rory O'Carroll on a second yellow, Marty Duffy did not seem to notice Dublin putting on Davy Byrne without taking anyone off.

The situation was brought to the attention of Duffy and Byrne had to leave, but it rubbed out any numerical advantage Tyrone might have had for a period.

Back to those goals.

From the first throw-in, Michael Darragh Macauley broke the ball to Tomas Brady. He laid off to Diarmuid Connolly, who floated a ball to Alan Brogan. It then was worked by the hands through Connolly, Brady, Jason Whelan and finally James McCarthy, who appeared to kick for a point, but the ball dipped and hit the underside of the crossbar for a goal. There were only 18 seconds on the clock.

Morgan drilled his kickout downfield and Dublin's late replacement Jack McCaffrey won a breaking ball. He transferred to Philly McMahon and it was carried in a sweeping move by Brady, McCaffrey again and Macauley then lofted a huge fist pass to the waiting arms of Jason Whelan, who lost marker Peter Harte and slid the ball into the corner for the second goal after 67 seconds.

Tyrone's woes were further compounded by the black card dismissal of Ronan McNamee for a hand trip.

Darren McCurry replied with three points, two impressive efforts from play before Dublin's ball-carrying again opened Tyrone up.

A Kyle Coney shot fell short to goalkeeper Currie, Kevin Nolan brought it upfield to Macauley, who exchanged a one-two with Kevin McManamon before slotting home.

Manager Harte will be heartened by Tyrone's ability to claw their way back to level in injury time, but some familiar faults will emerge in the analysis. They are vulnerable when teams use direct pace.

While Tyrone were porous at the back, they carried limited threat in their forward ranks.

Undoubtedly they hit a purple patch and reeled in five scores between the 42nd and 50th minutes, with Mattie Donnelly providing leadership and the ability to break a tackle. Goalkeeper Niall Morgan also defied the swirling wind around Healy Park to curl two brilliant frees.

Dublin responded with three points before Sean Cavanagh (pictured) floated a pass into Shay McGuigan, who was rounding keeper Currie and got pulled down.

It was the most blatant example of a black card, but referee Duffy chose not to produce a card of any colour, before Peter Harte stitched the resultant penalty into the bottom left corner.

Two Ronan O'Neill frees, and a fantastic long-range point from Mattie Donnelly had Tyrone level with the game in injury-time.

However, the last word was to belong to Diarmuid Connolly, who struck an outside of the boot effort from 45 yards.

TYRONE: N Morgan (0-3, 2f, 1x'45'); A McCrory, R McNamee, R McKenna; C McGinley, Mattie Donnelly (0-1), P Harte (1-1, 1-0 pen); C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-1); E McKenna, S McGuigan, Mark Donnelly (0-1); D McCurry (0-6, 4f), K Coney, C McAliskey. Subs: D McBride for McNamee (Black card, 4m), M Penrose for E McKenna (20m) R O'Neill (0-2, 2f), for Coney (half-time), C Gormley for McAliskey (57m), D Carlin for McGinley (61m), N McKenna for McGuigan (66m). Yellow cards: C Cavanagh (35m) McGuigan (52m), Harte (56m).

DUBLIN: S Currie; J Cooper, R O'Carroll, P McMahon (0-1); J McCarthy (1-0), K Nolan, J McCaffrey; MD Macauley (1-0), T Brady; J Whelan (1-1), D Connolly (0-5, 3f), B Cullen (0-1); A Brogan (0-1), E O'Gara, K McManamon (0-1). Subs: P Andrews for Cullen, Davy Byrne for Brady (45m), N Devereux for McCaffrey (54m), C Costello for Brogan (57m). Yellow cards: McManamon (21m), Whelan (26m), O'Carroll (28m), Macauley (35m), McCarthy (46m), Connolly (52m), O'Carroll (65m), O'Gara (73m). Red cards: O'Carroll (65m).

Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).

Attendance: 9,237.

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