Red Hands put their cards on qualifier table
After a scary first half in which they got little change out of resilient Roscommon, Tyrone ran out convincing winners in Saturday’s All-Ireland Senior Football Round 3 Qualifier game in Dr Hyde Park, to launch what should be a promising and potentially rewarding journey through the back-door system, writes Seamus Donnelly.
For long periods of the first half the game proved to be every bit the tricky tie that many had predicted, however a Peter Harte penalty shortly after the break drove a stake through the heart of the western challengers.
The second half in particular was illuminated by Edendork teenager Darren McCurry who showed just what he is capable of at this level with four excellent points from play.
In spite of the convincing scoreline Mickey Harte will have plenty to work on with his team ahead of next weekend’s 3rd round qualifier with their play lacking the sharpness that will be needed to challenge the country’s top teams.
Harte was forced into a late change with Urney’s Johnny Lafferty replacing team captain Stephen O’Neill at full forward with Joe McMahon assuming the captaincy for the day.
Indeed, it was McMahon who opened the scoring for Tyrone for the third time in this year’s championship when he pointed from play in the second minute after receiving a pass from championship debutant Lafferty.
Martin Penrose extended Tyrone’s lead three minutes later when he converted a free from straight in front after he himself had been fouled.
While Tyrone led, their play was at times lethargic and they rarely threatened to escape from second gear in the opening half, a point evidenced by a number of poor wides from Owen Mulligan and Cathal McCarron.
Roscommon got themselves into the game and onto the scoreboard with a point in the 12th minute with when impressive centre half forward Cathal Cregg turned both Peter Harte and Dermot Carlin inside out before slotting between the uprights.
Tyrone hit back moments later when Dermot Carlin’s long run and cross field ball found the in form Owen Mulligan for the Cookstown man to register his first point.
Tyrone’s sloppy play continued as the half wore on and Roscommon got a point back when Conor Gormley lost the ball to Senan Kilbride coming out of defence. Kilbride’s snap shot hit the post but Donie Shine made no mistake following up.
Joe McMahon registered a free in the 21st minute for the Red Hands, but the Rossies hit right back this time Shine pointed a free after Dermot Carlin was adjudged to have handled on the ground.
Roscommon could well have been in the lead at this point but Shine’s usually reliable radar was off as he free a number of kickable frees wide.
The sides were level with 30 minutes of the half played, when Senan Kilbride registered a point from play after Tyrone had once again given the ball away cheaply in defence.
With the game in the balance and half time approaching Tyrone began to show some urgency and added three points to their total before the break.
Owen Mulligan got his second from play before following up second later with a point from a free after Martin Penrose was fouled.
Tyrone would go in three points to the good when Peter Harte and Mark Donnelly combined to allow debutante Johnny Lafferty kick his first championship point.
Facing into the breeze in the second half, the Red Hands exploded out of the blocks.
Within minutes of the restart Mark Donnelly found himself through on goal after good work from Penrose, only to be hauled to the ground by the covering Rossie’s defence.
Peter Harte who was again deployed in the half back line made little mistake from the spot kick sending Geoffrey Claffey the wrong way.
Owen Mulligan got his fourth of the game from a 40th minute free before substitute Darren McCurry teed the Fr Rock’s man up for his fifth moments later.
McCurry was involved again seconds later, after Sean O’Neill and Peter Harte had combined to find the Edendork teenager in space.
Roscommon’s stunned by the early Red Hand blitz let their heads dropped and only Cathal Cregg played anywhere near his potential. The Western Gaels man opened their account for the second half with a point after a knockdown from Colin Compton.
Tyrone by now had a healthy lead and were in cruise control. The lively McCurry pointed again moments later though that score was cancelled out by Ger Heneghan.
A well-taken point from Martin Penrose, re-established Tyrone’s lead after Brian McGuigan had put him into space with a neat pass.
Cregg would point twice more for Roscommon as the game fizzled out. Mickey Harte took the opportunity to give some of his bench game time and one of these, Niall McKenna kicked a point shortly after he came on.
A fairly dull final quarter was illuminated by Darren McCurry as he demonstrated his potential kicking points off either foot from tight angles to allow Tyrone to run out comfortable 11 point victors.
Mickey Harte’s team will find themselves in action next Sunday again as for the second successive year they advanced to the third round of the qualifiers
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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