Job is done in Newry by solid Tyrone team

Tyrone goalscorer Peter Harte �INPHO
Tyrone goalscorer Peter Harte �INPHO

Confident and determined Tyrone made no mistake at the second time of asking in Pairc Esler on Saturday as they saw off Down by eight points.

Three goals, two from Ciaran McGinley and a penalty from Peter Harte, were to prove decisive for Tyrone as they recorded a comfortable victory at Pairc Esler and, truth be told, it could well have been even by a greater margin.

Tyrone's Aidan McCrory and Mark Poland of Down �INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Tyrone's Aidan McCrory and Mark Poland of Down �INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Not surprisingly, Mickey Harte made four changes to the line-up he had announced on Friday night as Justin McMahon and Ronan McNamee came into the full backline, joined by Ronan McNabb, while Emmett McKenna and Ronan O’Neill replaced Mark Donnelly and Niall McKenna in attack.

Things could barely have gotten off to a worse start however as referee Cormac Reilly awarded the Mournemen a penalty in the opening 20 seconds of the contest.

Having been black-carded prior to the penalty in Omagh the week previously, Niall Morgan correctly choose to stand his ground his goal and Aidan Carr, who had made no mistake in the first encounter, could only find the Tyrone shotstopper’s chest.

Tyrone then wasted three good chances for points before Conor Laverty opened the scoring for Down in the fourth minute but Tyrone hit back almost immediately.

A quick ball into the Down defence from Conor Clarke saw Ronan O’Neill fight off a robust challenge and fire over the bar.

A foul on Mattie Donnelly a couple of minutes later allowed Darren McCurry to kick a brilliant score from the sideline around 35 metres from goal before Tyrone extended their lead to three via a Niall Morgan 45.

Having endured a shaky start Tyrone had found their feet and fluffed a golden chance for a 14th minute goal as Peter Harte blazed over the bar with only the goalkeeper to beat.

This inspired a response from Down as Donal O’Hare tapped over a straight forward free in front of the posts.

When Tyrone got early ball into their three man full forward line of Coney, McCurry and O’Neill they were punishing the Down defence.

O’Neill was hauled down in the 17th minute as Darren McCurry slotted the resulting free to restore the Tyrone advantage to four.

O’Hare was on target once more for James McCartan’s charges but Tyrone responded as a Sean Cavanagh pass to Ciaran McGinley broke kindly for the Errigal Ciaran man and he made no mistake shooting low past a helpless Brendan McVeigh.

Niall Morgan added to the Tyrone lead with a free from 48 metres in the 28th minute as Tyrone appeared to be cruising, leading by six.

As with the Omagh tie however, the Mournemen refused to lie down.

Conor Laverty nabbed a point back after some sloppy defending by Tyrone and Conor Maginn narrowed the gap to four soon after.

Down’s confidence raised just a little and Dan Gordon and O’Hare converted from play in the closing minutes of the half to make the lead just two points to Tyrone at the interval.

The break had come at a good time for Tyrone and they recoverd those four points lost within a couple of minutes of the interval.

Thirty seconds into the second half Colm Cavanagh fed Darren McCurry around 45 metres from the Down goal. McCurry beat a man, and brilliantly picked out Ciaran McGinley standing free.

For the second time in the contest McGinley beat McVeigh, for a well taken goal.

A minute later Ronan O’Neill teed McGinley up once more and although he had been errant with a few shots of the 70 minutes he made no mistake.

A Niall Morgan 45 in the 42nd minute pushed Tyrone further ahead and it could well have been more had a Sean Cavanagh effort not rocketed back of the crossbar.

The introduction of Benny Coulter gave Down a brief lift, Coulter and Donal O’Hare narrowing the gap with points from play.

Tyrone had introduced Niall McKenna to their attack and the Donaghmore man showed a superb turn of pace to streak away from his marker and set up Ronan McNabb for what looked like a sure Tyrone goal.

The Dromore man however felt a hand in the back as he attempted to palm into the back, referee Reilly awarding a penalty.

Peter Harte made no mistake from the spot and Tyrone were now in complete command.

Jerome Johnston rattled the Tyrone post before Mattie Donnelly capped a fine personal performance with a point from 35 metres.

Conor Garvey got forward for a point for his side with 10 minutes remaining but Tyrone hit right back Niall McKenna showing well and pointing following a Sean Cavanagh pass.

Donal O’Hare added to his total with two frees but it was too little, too late for Down, Connor McAliskey rounding of the scoring with a well taken score for Tyrone.

The Red Hands now advance to the Ulster quarter-final where they meet Monaghan in an appetising repeat of the 2013 All Ireland quarter-final.