Tyrone ladies' winning start
Whatever problems Tyrones senior ladies squad may have encountered in the past couple of months, there was no sign of them on Sunday as they annexed an opening day victory in the Bord Gais National League over Mayo.
There was a familiar look to a Tyrone side that huffed and puffed at times, looked out of sorts on occasions but still had enough to seal the win that they desperately craved, writes Paddy Hunter.
Mayo again relied on the veteran score-getter Cora Staunton and, while she did chip in with a well taken 1-5, she also squandered a host of chances especially in the second half when they threatened to salvage the tie.
Colm Donnelly and Niall Colton took over the Tyrone reins just over a week ago, they had little chance to run the rule over the players at their disposal, perhaps then it was no surprise that they aired on the side of caution in their team selection. Little in the way of new faces getting a run out against a very experienced Mayo, led once more by Staunton with McHale and Sullivan at midfield.
That midfield had a promising outing against Tyrone, Neamh Woods and Sarah Donnelly struggling at times to really get the control they deserved. indeed there were problems in defence and up front at times for the Ulster side but they got off to the best possible start.
Within twelve minutes Tyrone led 1-2 to a point, Caffertys early Mayo minor cancelled out by a 7th minute goal. Cathy Donnelly ran through before cutting out the defender to set up Dearbhla McCallan who beat Yvonne Byrne. Begley added two further points as Mayo just could not find their rhythm.
Gemma Begley and Cora Staunton traded further points while veteran forward Catriona McGahan hit a glorious point and Tyrone led 1-5 to 0-4 at the break.
Into the second half and Tyrone continued where they left off with a McCreesh point and should have wrapped up the tie at Trillick when Cathy Donnellys rasping shot was well saved by Byrne, the rebound cleared.
Maguire, McNicolas and Cafferty were causing Tyrone's fullback line problems, they were stretched at times as Staunton tried to pull the strings. Despite another Donnelly point Mayo burst back into it with just four minutes gone, Staunton picked up a loose ball and ran at the defence, her effort dropped towards Sinead McVeigh but it hit Sinead O'Neill and slipped to the net, a goal between them.
Both teams tried to take a grip on the game at this stage, Begley worked hard but lack of composure cost her in front of goal and Tyrones lack of a final punch was evident again when the very impressive Cathy Donnelly hit the crossbar only for no-one to be there for the rebound to snaffle a threepointer. Mayos creation just never materialised either despite some good passages of play.
Carrickmore's Gemma Begely hit a crucial point ten minutes in, Herbert though cancelled that one out seconds later. and it was Mayo who produced the best of the attacks, Staunton tried to create the moves for Mayo but just couldn't get things going.
McCallan rounded off Tyrones account with thirteen minutes to go, worryingly they failed to trouble the umpires again and, when the management review the game, it's an aspect of play they'll look long and hard at.
Both teams were showing signs of fatigue in the last ten minutes, Mayo only mustered two further points from the foot of Staunton, frustrating for Mayo too then, room for improvement as Tyrone closed out the game sealing a two point win at Donnelly Park.
For both sets of managers there's plenty of food for thought to take out of the tie. The Tyrone duo will get a chance to see there players for another fortnight before the visit of Laois, Mayo must stop relying on Staunton to get their scores, Herbert and Cafferty hit two points while the golden boot winner of the past two championships Staunton tallied up to 1-5.
A host of the Tyrone players new and old will focus now on the universities Dowd Cup, management hoping the students don't pick up any injuries in the intense week to come.
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Weather for Dungannon
Tuesday 21 May 2013
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