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Tyrone thrilled to have final say against critics

Tyrone 0-17 - Roscommon 0-12

By Kevin Kelly

Tyrone qualified for their first All-Ireland U21 final since 2003 when they got the better of a fancied Roscommon side at Markievicz Park in Sligo to set up a decider with Tipperary.

Most experts had the Ulster champions going into the game as massive underdogs but Feargal Logan and his charges didn't read the script as they produced all the hallmarks of Tyrone football with a display of grit, determination and plenty of skill to emerge worthy winners.

It was a contest that the Red Hands led from start to finish and in truth their opponents simply couldn't match the intensity and drive that they brought to the table and afterwards manager Logan hit out at the numerous critics who have been lambasting Tyrone football.

"When you are backed into a corner and kicked around the place the way that people are kicking Tyrone football around the place at the moment, of course you get your guts and determination, it's not that hard to get that back out," Logan said.

"You know if you keep kicking a dog enough it is eventually going to get up and bite you and there is a very simple message to those out there - keep kicking because Tyrone football will keep biting. We were 9/4 outsiders in the bookies and the southern journalists didn't even know the names of our players.

"We have prepared hard and I have never seem a team that has prepared itself as hard.

"Those lads are just so committed, they kept doing everything that was asked of them and we kept drilling it into them and hard work equals rewards and that was on view there," Logan added.

Roscommon may have had the elements in their favour in the first half but they were bombarded from the word go as Tyrone confidently took the game to them.

Lee Brennan had the game's opening score inside 20 seconds and further points followed from Cathal McShane, Brennan and Michael Cassidy before a stunned Roscommon opened their account from a Diarmuid Murtagh free.

Mark Kavanagh then burst through for a point and while Roscommon midfielder Cathal Compton weighed in with a trio of fine scores, they couldn't get on level terms. McShane, Brennan and Danny McNulty all registered for Tyrone and they led 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time.

The start of the second half was a carbon copy of the first with Brennan splitting the posts again, this time after only 10 seconds. Roscommon were struggling to make an impact against a Tyrone defence that had stars in Padraig Hampsey, Ruairi Mullan and Kieran McGeary and while Murtagh scored twice, again it was Tyrone who led 0-13 to 0-9 going into the final quarter thanks to efforts from Brennan and McNulty.

With five minutes to go, the gap had been cut to 0-14 to 0-12.

Tyrone, however, refused to panic as they continued to play controlled football with points from Frank Burns, Brennan and McNulty making the game safe.

Tyrone: S Fox, R Mullan, P Hampsey, M Cassidy (0-1), C McLaughlin, R Brennan, K McGeary, F Burns (0-1), C McShane (0-3), C Meyler, M Kavanagh (0-2), M Walsh, L Brennan (0-6, 1f), D McNulty (0-4, 3f), R McGlone. Subs: S McKenna for McGlone, M Bradley for Kavanagh, D Kavanagh for L Brennan, P McKenna for Walsh.

Roscommon: S Mannion, N McInerney, S Mullooly, D Barron, E McGrath, C Kenny, R Daly (0-1, 1f), C Compton (0-3), T O'Rourke, S Killoran, U Harney, K Kilcline, D Murtagh (0-6, 4f), E Smith, P Kenny. Subs: N Kelly for Mannion, T Corcoran (0-1, 45) for O'Rourke, N Gately for Kenny, K Finn for Compton, D Neary for Kenny, J Earley (0-1) for Kilcline.

Referee: P O'Sullivan (Kerry).

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