Tyrone lose out on All Ireland final spot

Mark Donnelly and Conor Gormley hang their heads in disappointment at the final whistle. INTT3513-701DCA
Mark Donnelly and Conor Gormley hang their heads in disappointment at the final whistle. INTT3513-701DCA

A crushing second half performance from Mayo put pay to Tyrone’s All Ireland hopes for 2013 as the Connacht champions dominated what was a young Red Hand team in Croke Park.

Tyrone were dealt significant first half blows with the loss of Peter Harte and Stephen O’Neill through injury and the second half loss of Joe McMahon as he succumbed to an injury that had been niggling at him all season. At half time though Tyrone were very much in with a shout trailing by a single score having conceded the three final scores of the half.

Tyrone supporters will feel slightly aggrieved with a number of referee Maurice Deegan’s decisions most notably two incidents on which the game swung.

The decision to award Mayo a penalty early in the second half will be of particular displeasure to Tyrone fans with replays showing the Dermot Carlin’s foul to have taken place outside the square.

If Tyrone were going to have any chance of responding then they needed to hit back immediately but a goal chance not long after was blocked in the square by what looked like a Mayo foot. Appeals for a foot block free were waved away and son were Tyrone’s chances.

The Red Hands opened the scoring in the third minute of the contest with wing back Ciaran McGinley racing forward under pressure and firing over when Tyrone looked like they might goal.

The westerners signalled the kind of first half we were going to have almost immediately as they raced forward and won a dubious enough free which Cillian O’Connor slotted just over the bar, Pascal McConnell getting his hand up to help it over.

The frantic nature of the opening minutes saw Tyrone race forward once again, Peter Harte and Colm Cavanagh combining to allow Stephen O’Neill to fire over a score.

Harte picked up his injury not long after, a terrible blow to Tyrone’s chances of victory.

While Mayo responded shortly afterwards Tyrone really put on the pressure and some great tackling and turnovers helped them to a three point lead.

Connor McAliskey showed why Mickey Harte had placed his trust in him with two wonderful efforts from play demonstrating his scoring ability.

Alan Freeman narrowed the deficit again with a free but Tyrone responded once more with Darren McCurry showing his class with a point from play.

Mayo then had a goal chance but the referee’s whistle had gone and the free awarded which Kevin McLoughlin somehow missed.

Ronan O’Neill introduced for his injured namesake Stephen then stole a march on the Mayo defence and fired over a point from play to leave Tyrone three up with three minutes of the first half remaining.

Mayo then got some crucial scores with corner back Chris Barrett get forward twice to point from play sandwiched between a Lee Keegan effort. These scores gave an out of sorts Mayo team something to cling to in the second half and did they take it.

The westerners blitzed Tyrone early in the second half with Enda Varley firing over an early point.

Tyrone were all at sea in midfield and Mayo struck winning the penalty which Alan Freeman duly dispatched to Pascal McConnell’s goal.

Three more Mayo points quickly followed as the Connacht champions pressed their foot on the neck of the Tyrone team. Alan Freeman and Dillon were among those on target while Tyrone lost the valuable leadership of Joe McMahon to injury.

If Tyrone were to get back into the game they needed a goal and they almost had one but a foot block from a Mayo defender went unpunished and although Darren McCurry fired over the free that was the end of Tyrone.

A young Tyrone side battled on but Mayo always had them at arms length.

Points from Aidan Cassidy and Sean Cavanagh were to be no use as Freeman and his colleagues kicked clear.

Three points in quick succession from Lee Keegan, Cathal Carolan and Aidan O’Shea made the Mayo men safe and sent them into their second consecutive All Ireland final.

For Tyrone there were late scores from Sean Cavanagh and Darren McCurry but for a third consecutive year they have exited the championship on the receiving end of a heavy defeat.

Many of the young players that finished the game in the white jersey, wearing them for the first time this season will have big futures ahead of them in the game while some of the more familiar faces may well have worn the Red Hand shirt for the last time.

They owe Tyrone nothing.