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Allianz NFL Division 1 – Tyrone 1-11 Kerry 1-10

March 27, 2010 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Tyrone defeated Kerry by 1-11 to 1-10 in round 6 of the Allianz National Football League Division 1 on Saturday in Omagh.

Cavanagh to the rescue for Red Hands

From the web site

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tyrone’s are on course to maintain their top flight status in the Allianz GAA Football League after Colm Cavanagh’s 74th minute goal gave the Red Hands a dramatic 1-11 to 1-10 win over Kerry at Healy Park on Saturday night. Mickey Harte’s men looked to be edging towards the Division One trap door as they trailed by four points with 11 minutes left on the clock. However, Kerry centre-back Aidan O’Mahony was sent off in the 64th minute and the Kingdom failed to score in the final 18 minutes. Martin Penrose fired two points in the last ten minutes to reduce the gap to two, before Cavanagh’s dramatic intervention at the death means Tyrone’s survival is now in their own hands.

Kerry opened the scoring in the third minute, with Kieran Donaghy fielding a trademark diagonal ball and feeding Donnacha Walsh, who popped the ball over the bar when he might have gone for goal. Tyrone were level four minutes later when Sean Cavanagh, making his first start since last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat took advantage of a defensive error to slot the ball over the bar. Tommy McGuigan sent the Red Hands into the lead for the first time when he landed a free soon after. McGuigan sent the home side even further ahead after Aidan Cassidy had broken a high ball into the full-forward line and the Ardboe man added the finishing touch. Tyone scored their fourth successive point when Cavanagh beat Aidan O’Mahony and landed a point from long range.

Kerry then ended an 11-minute spell without a score as David Moran took advantage of some slack marking to reduce the gap to two. Kerry looked for Donaghy with their trademark diagonal ball into the full-forward line on every occasion, but Justin McMahon looked to have the measure of the Kerins O’Rahillys man. Tyrone had the first real sight of goal when Cavanagh won a loose ball in the full-forward line and raced onto the ball before unleashing a thumping shot which was brilliantly saved by Brendan Kealy, the Kerry goalkeeper.

Kerry struggled in attack in the opening stages and their manager, Jack O’Connor, reacted by brining Darran O’Sullivan in for Kieran O’Leary in the 21st minute. O’Sullivan, last year’s All-Ireland winning made an immediate impact, using his pace to fire over from a tight angle a minute after his introduction. Tyrone had no such problems in attack and Owen Mulligan, in particular, was moving well and he gave the Red Hands a 0-6 to 0-3 lead in the 28th minute. However, the Kerry attack clicked into gear in the last five minutes of the half, kicking four successive to take the lead at the break. Donnacha Walsh started Kerry’s purple patch, before Donaghy slammed a basket ball style fisted effort off the bar and over after Moran’s clever pass. Moran himself found his range a minute later before Colm Cooper landed his first point of the night from a tight angle to send the Kingdom into the break with a 0-7 to 0-6 advantage.

After making such a good start, Tyrone’s hopes were dealt a massive blow when Cathal McCarron, their corner back, was shown a second yellow card for an ill-advised tug on Copper’s jersey. Cooper knocked over the subsequent free, but there was worse to come for the home side. Five minutes into the second half, Declan O’Sullivan made a surging run through the Tyrone defence, which was showing yawning gaps at this stage, and exchanged hand passes with Cooper before tapping the ball into the empty net to give Kerry a 1-8 to 0-6 lead. Tyrone finally ended a 17-minute spell either side of the break without a score when Tommy McGuigan slotted over a free, but Kerry were completely dominant by now. Donncha Walsh sent over his third point of the night as if to illustrate their superiority. Darran O’Sullivan sent over his second of the night – a quality strike with the outside of his left foot – to re-establish Kerry’s five-point lead.

Martin Penrose then kicked two frees in a row to reduce the gap to just three points with eight minutes left on the clock. Kerry’s task of holding on in the final minutes was made far more difficult when Aidan O’Mahony, who was already on a yellow card, was shown a straight red after a high tackle on Conor Gormley. The momentum was in Tyrone’s favour and Penrose further cut the gap with three minutes left, firing over his fourth point of the night. Owen Mulligan had a wonderful chance to leave just a point between the sides with two minutes left on the clock, but the Cookstown man somehow managed to send a close-range free wide. However, there was to be late drama as Colm Cavanagh found the back of the net in the 74th minute, fisting the ball home with the last play of the game after a long ball had been floated into the square and was deflected into his path by Joe McMahon.

Another slap from the Red Hand

Tyrone 1-11 Kerry 1-10

By Brendan O’Brien for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, March 29, 2010

FOR seven years now, Tyrone have been the cold Kerry just can’t shake, and the Munster side were struck down by yet another depressing dose in Healy Park on Saturday night in a game they appeared to have won. The scenes after the final whistle said it all. Mickey Harte beamed like some Cheshire Cat, Pascal McConnell pumped his fist, disappearing up the tunnel, and Brian McGuigan high-fived the fans on his way off. No, the rivalry between this pair would have made the win sweet enough all in itself and this result was one badly needed by a Tyrone side battling for its Division One life. It is also one that sucks Kerry back into the mire. It shouldn’t really have ended that way.

Leading by five points with 15 minutes to go, Kerry retreated into their defensive positions and invited on a storm which duly reached its crescendo with a dramatic goal from Colm Cavanagh after 73 minutes and 15 seconds. “I’m disappointed,” admitted Jack O’Connor. “That’s a cruel way to lose a game. The margins are very fine. David Moran fly-kicked the ball away with about five seconds to go and the game would have been over if it had reached the sideline. “We probably invited them on to us too much in the end because we just weren’t killing the ball up the other end and they were counter-attacking well. A hard one to take. I thought we deserved something out of it.” Deserve has nothing to do with it.

The All-Ireland champions found themselves six points to three down coming up to the half-hour and struggling against a Tyrone side that cut off their oxygen at one end while cantering through at the other. Only a Brendan Kealy save from Sean Cavanagh kept the margin from ballooning further but then O’Connor introduced Darran O’Sullivan and his metronomic engine kick-started the visitors into life. Four points in three minutes handed them an unlikely half-time lead and they built on it on the restart thanks mainly to Cathal McCarron’s sending off for a second yellow card offence and Declan O’Sullivan’s goal. Kerry had found their groove. Seamus Scanlon was lording midfield, while David Moran, Declan O’Sullivan and Donncha Walsh were providing the attacking platform from the half-forward line. Moran, in particular, was immense all evening. Always showing for the ball, he covered acres of space and managed three points which were slightly diluted by a hat-trick of other ill-advised efforts.

Tyrone’s difficulties were only emphasised by a Tommy McGuigan free after 45 minutes – their first score in 28 minutes – but the momentum shifted in the last quarter and it was Kerry who handed it over. Apologists may point to the straight red card handed out to Aidan O’Mahony six minutes from time but the rot had set in earlier with the concession of a host of fouls in scoring positions and O’Connor accepted as much. “The referee was under pressure to send somebody off and even things up so I would have no qualms with that. Overall, I just felt we played enough football to get something out of the game, a win or a draw.”

It wasn’t all just about Kerry’s retreat into their shells. Tyrone must take their fair share of the credit for a win that mirrored another smash-and-grab raid against Cork in the same ground a fortnight earlier. Just like then, the Ulster side hung on in against a team that was the superior force for vast swathes of the evening and Mickey Harte was thrilled with their reaction to adversity. “It asked a lot of our players and the fact that they gave that bit extra over that period (after half-time) that kept them in the game. The goal might have won the game for us but Houdini doesn’t work if you are not doing the work up until that time.” Satisfying though the victory was, Harte was quick to point out it was merely a “stay of execution” and both counties will now require wins in next week’s final round to be sure of their places in the top flight next season.

Scorers for Tyrone: C Cavanagh 1-0, T McGuigan 0-3 (2f), M Penrose 0-3 (2f), S Cavanagh 0-2, O Mulligan 0-2 (1f), K Coney 0-1.

Scorers for Kerry: Declan O’Sullivan 1-0, D Moran 0-3 (1f), D Walsh 0-2, Darran O’Sullivan 0-2, C Cooper 0-2 (1f), K Donaghy 0-1.

Subs for Tyrone: B McGuigan for T McGuigan (52); Shaun O’Neill for Coney (59).

Subs for Kerry: Darran O’Sullivan for O’Leary (21), D O’Callaghan for Walsh (48), B Sheehan for Maher (54), A O’Connell for Reidy (62).

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)

Cavanagh’s fist floors Kerry

Monday March 29 2010

Something reconnected in Omagh on Saturday night. As the Tyrone players warmed down in the middle of Healy Park, a couple of thousand hugged the seats and isles around the tunnel beneath the stand waiting to show their appreciation. Tyrone had been oscillating between moderate and poor in their five previous league games, sometimes a little detached, sometimes a little dispirited. As the clock ticked into added time their proud Division 1 record during the management term of Mickey Harte was in serious peril given the way results were panning out elsewhere. With ‘head-to-head’ results counting if two teams are tied at the conclusion of the group stages Tyrone couldn’t afford to find themselves isolated with Monaghan as score difference, the normal determination in these situations, wouldn’t count.

So Colm Cavanagh’s goal right at the death of a needling match that was always simmering, but never managed to boil over, was important in many ways. You got the sense that something in Tyrone’s season turned in that instant and the crowd on the stand certainly felt that too. Call it a mugging, call it a great escape, but that ignores a couple of points. Tyrone played most of the second half with 14 men after Cathal McCarron’s second yellow card for a second foul against Colm Cooper. Only Aidan O’Mahony’s ridiculous high challenge around Conor Gormley’s neck that merited a straight red six minutes from time balanced the books. And they never threw in the towel, always pressing, always probing against a Kerry side that, in Jack O’Connor’s admission, “invited” them on much too early. They may have got what their persistence merited.

In the build up to Cavanagh’s late goal David Moran had to parry Joe McMahon’s punched effort away. It almost crept out over the line and in that scenario referee Padraig Hughes would surely have called full-time, sending Kerry back home with a cherished second successive win in Omagh. But the ball recycled off Moran into Brian McGuigan’s hands and he floated another inviting delivery into the Kerry goalmouth which came off a forest of arms, allowing the alert Cavanagh to react quickest with his fist and send the home crowd into raptures of delight. There was time for no more. “A cruel way to lose a game,” admitted O’Connor, whose demeanour afterwards spoke more than words. He knew they should have defended better but the removal of the square-ball infringement makes these moments more of a possibility. “The margins are pretty fine, David Moran fly kicked a ball away there with about five seconds to go and if it reached the sideline I’d say the game is over. “We probably invited them on to us a bit more in the end because we just weren’t killing the ball up the other end and they were counter attacking pretty well. A hard one to take because maybe we deserved something out of the game.”

Had the younger Cavanagh not delivered the coup de grace, Harte could still have drawn a lot from the performance, more than anything else this season perhaps. “A great escape? Yes you can say that because of the way it ended, but the escape didn’t happen with the last shot, it happened when we dug in a man down and then going a goal down almost at the same time,” said Harte. “It asked a lot of questions of our players and the fact that they gave that extra effort and energy over that period of time when they were down a man.” Sean Cavanagh, on his first start of the season, was influential in almost everything while Philip Jordan’s return for the second half to tie down David Moran was also pleasing, as was the cut and thrust of Martin Penrose in attack. Colm Cavanagh is at last making tangible progress.

Kerry probably had the better spells of football but over less sustained spells and they were the more negative side in a game that produced some 61 frees. This wasn’t what you would come to expect from two of the best three teams in the country. Or maybe it is. Whether by accident or design Kerry channeled more players back behind the ball to protect their lead instead of striving on for more. It didn’t suit them and ultimately it didn’t work. Hughes issued two red cards (one each) and 12 yellows (eight for Kerry), few of which could be argued with. In fact more were lucky not to follow including Declan O’Sullivan while O’Mahony was walking a fine line before he picked up his straight red. “The referee was under pressure at that time to send somebody off to even things up so I’d have no big qualms about that,” said O’Connor of his centre-back’s dismissal. Privately he might say something different.

Kerry didn’t really start sparking until Darran O’Sullivan’s arrival for Kieran O’Leary 20 minutes in. His pace troubled Tyrone and they hit a groove in the five minutes before the break to turn a 0-6 to 0-3 deficit into a 0-7 to 0-6 lead with Donnacha Walsh, Kieran Donaghy, Moran and Cooper points. It was an impressive spell. On the restart McCarron saw red for dragging down Cooper who nailed the subsequent free and was then the fulcrum in a one-two with Declan O’Sullivan, reminiscent of an early goal against Mayo in the ’06 All-Ireland final after O’Sullivan had plundered Peter Harte further outfield and charged in. That was 1-5 without reply for Kerry in 10 minutes from a 1-8 to 0-6 lead but from then on Tyrone had the edge, hitting Kerry on the counter. The yellow cards totted up as Kerry sought to break home momentum and when Mulligan missed a close- range free in injury-time to narrow the gap to just one point we felt their chance was gone.

They didn’t however and ironically Mulligan’s miss gave them the scent of goal. O’Connor was still able to draw positives from the night. They’ve lost four from six now in the league but he feels he knows more about his team than 12 months ago when they were cruising at the same stage. “It has certainly helped to shape our team. I think we have a better idea going into the championship than we had last year when we cruised through the league. Maybe there is positives in that,” said O’Connor. “I thought a lot of fellas upped their performance tonight. A few fellas need to get a bit fitter. It’s a long way to come and go away empty handed but sure that’s sport.”

Scorers — Tyrone: M Penrose 0-4 (0-3f), C Cavanagh 1-0, S Cavanagh, O Mulligan (0-1f), T McGuigan (0-1f) 0-2 each, K Coney 0-1. Kerry: Declan O’Sullivan 1-0, D Moran (0-1f) 0-3, Darran O’Sullivan, C Cooper (0-1f), D Walsh 0-2 each, K Donaghy 0-1.

Tyrone — P McConnell; D Carlin, J McMahon, C McCarron; D Harte, C Gormley, R McMenamin; A Cassidy, C Cavanagh; K Coney, S Cavanagh, P Harte; T McGuigan, M Penrose, O Mulligan. Subs: P Jordan for McMenamin (ht), B McGuigan for T McGuigan (54), S O’Neill for Coney (59).

Kerry — B Kealy; P Reidy, T Griffin, T O’Sullivan; M O Se, A O’Mahony, K Young; S Scanlon, A Maher; K O’Leary, Declan O’Sullivan, D Walsh; C Cooper, K Donaghy, D Moran. Subs: Darran O’Sullivan for O’Leary (21), D O’Callaghan for Walsh (48), B Sheehan for Maher (54), A O’Connell for Reidy (63).

Ref — Padraig Hughes (Armagh)

Team News

TYRONE (SF v Kerry): P McConnell; D Carlin, J McMahon, C McCarron; D Harte, C Gormley, R McMenamin; A Cassidy, C Cavanagh; K Coney, S Cavanagh, P Harte; T McGuigan, M Penrose, O Mulligan.


March 27, 2010
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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