GAA: Tyrone are routed in ‘no-show’ second half

Dejected Tyrone following their defeat by Kerry at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney. Picture by INPHO/Cathal Noonan.
Dejected Tyrone following their defeat by Kerry at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney. Picture by INPHO/Cathal Noonan.


Tyrone fell to their first defeat in the National League in spectacular fashion at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney yesterday, when they were hammered by a Kerry side who were picking up their first points of the campaign.

The sides were level at the break and two minutes into the second half substitute Ciaran McGinley put Tyrone in front; but, amazingly, that proved to be their last score of the game.

Kerry’s need for victory was greater and it showed when the chips were down as they took the visitors to the cleaners in the second half.

AllStar corner forward James O’Donoghue bagged a hat-trick of goals on a day when all the big performers wore green and gold jerseys, David Moran outstanding in the middle of the field.

Tyrone can take few positives from this game and it is better to try and put it to the back of their minds and concentrate on next weekend’s home game with Westmeath as they bid to get back on track for a place in the league semi-finals.

It was honours even at the interval after a first half where Tyrone were slow to settle but after getting into their stride they played some decent football.

Barry John Keane and Bryan Sheehan had early points for the home side who could have been well in front but for two superb saves by Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan.

First of all the Edendork man made a point blank save from wing back Peter Crowley in the third minute and two minutes later he thwarted James O’Donoghue with an equally good stop.

It was Morgan who opened the visitors account in the ninth minute from a well struck free but almost immediately Sheehan responded in kind at the other end of the field.

Peter Harte, who was having a superb game in the half back line, joined the attack to land an outstanding point from out on the left wing with the outside of his boot.

The referee was awarding Kerry a number of soft frees and Sheehan was proving unerring with his conversions. All Star James O’Donohue then cut in from the left wing to hit a fine point as Kerry moved 0-5 to 0-2 in front.

Tyrone though then enjoyed their best spell of the opening period as they hit four unanswered points to lead for the first time.

Ronan O’Neill knocked over a brace of frees before Harte weighed in with a beauty from out on the left wing as well.

In the twenty fourth minute an effort from O’Neill came back off the post into the path of Paddy McNeice but the Coalisland man was denied by a brilliant save from Kerry keeper Brian Kelly.

A sharp turn and point from Darren McCurry put Tyrone in front before Sheehan landed a free from all of forty eight metres out.

Morgan and Sheehan exchanged points from placed balls again before McCurry picked up a good pass from O’Neill to strike a superb score.

It was Kerry though who had the final say of the half with Keane converting a free with the last kick of the half to leave it 0-8 each at the break.

After McGinley’s point from long range it was all downhill.

Tyrone kicked three wides in a row before another Sheehan free levelled matters for the fifth time after eight minutes.

Kerry midfielder Anthony Maher then raced through to fist over the bar for a lead that the dominant hosts were never to lose.

The first goal of the afternoon arrived a dozen minutes into the second half when O’Donoghue burst through to give Morgan no chance with a blistering shot to the back of the net.

Substitute Paul Geaney then got in on the act before Sheehan knocked over another two frees.

In a rare Tyrone attack Emmett McKenna’s first time shot was cleared off the line but there was to be no Lazarus comeback this time like there had been seven days earlier.

Kerry continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over with a number of points bef. ore Moran supplied the pass to O’Donoghue who slipped the ball under Morgan.

Tyrone kicked thirteen wides over the course of the game to their opponents six but on the day they can have no complaints.

With a minute of normal time left to play the misery was complete when the superb O’Donoghue finished low to the bottom left hand corner of the net as, for the second time in three years ,the long trek to Killarney finished in a heavy defeat for the Red Hands.