Tyrone defeat Dublin to stay in hunt for League title

Allianz National Football League Division One

Sunday, 17th March 2019, 1:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th March 2019, 1:51 pm
Kieran McGeary and Colm Cavanagh celebrate after defeating Dublin in Croke Park. (Photo: ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry)

Dublin 1-11, Tyrone 1-14

With one round of fixtures to go Tyrone remain very much in contention for a place in the Division One National league final following a superb three point success over Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday evening.

It was Mickey Harte’s 300th game in charge of the Red Hands and they marked the occasion in style by knocking the All Ireland champions out of the running for league honours. Tyrone went into the game off the back of impressive back to back wins over Monaghan and Cavan but this victory topped those as they made it four games unbeaten in the league after losing their opening two outings.

Tyrone thoroughly deserved their success and it was all the more remarkable considering they had to play the last 20 minutes with only 14 men after centre half forward Niall Sludden was black carded having earlier picked up a yellow one.

Tyrone led by two points at the break and Dublin were never able to get back on level terms for the remainder of the contest.

Team captain Mattie Donnelly set the ball rolling with a point after only 25 seconds, the first of three scores from the Trillick man with his brother Richard weighing in with a superb brace at crucial times in the second half.

In the fourth minute though Dublin struck for a goal when they opened up the Tyrone defence for Cormac Costello to fire to the net past keeper Niall Morgan. Mattie Donnelly replied with a good point following a sharp turn before Peter Harte levelled matters from a free after a foul on Niall Sludden.

Con O’Callaghan eased the All Ireland champions back in front but in the 21st minute the Ulster side grabbed a well worked goal. Morgan found Richard Donnelly who in turn played the ball to his brother Mattie and his pass found Cathal McShane who blasted low past keeper Stephen Cluxton.

Dean Rock and Harte traded points from frees before Paul Mannion closed the gap to the minimum. Costello then though that he had levelled matters but the referee called for Hawkeye and it was correctly ruled out for a wide.

McShane took a good mark in front of the posts before pointing from the resulting kick before keeper Morgan nailed a great free from the left wing. The Tyrone keeper had earlier denied Costello with a fine save. Ciaran Kilkenny and McShane exchanged points before Dublin had the final say of the opening period with an outstanding free from out on the right wing from Mannion as Tyrone led 1-7 to 1-5 at the short whistle.

Tyrone started the second half well with man of the match McShane on target after only 20 seconds. Brian Fenton from play and Dean Rock from a free responded for Dublin but they were never able to get back on level terms.

The superb Richard Donnelly split the posts for Tyrone before keeper Morgan knocked over a free. Mattie Donnelly and Mannion exchanged points before the latter closed the gap from another placed ball.

Tyrone though didn’t panic with the Donnelly brothers combining for Richard to score before a superb mark from Harte resulted in the same player leaving four between the sides.

That man McShane took his personal haul to 1-4 before Kilkenny replied for the home side. Mannion converted a free as Dublin applied late pressure but Tyrone held on for a memorable win as they made it four games on the trot undefeated.

The result sets Tyrone up for a last game at home to a Galway side who can also make the league final. Tyrone need to win and hope that Monaghan, who need the points to ensure safety, get the better of Mayo and if both those results happen then the Red Hands will face Kerry in the league decider.

Dublin: S Cluxton, J Cooper, D Byrne, C O’Connor, B Howard, C O’Sullivan, J Small, B Fenton (0-1), J McCarthy, C O’Callaghan (0-1), C Costello (1-0,), N Scully, D Rock (0-2, 2F), C Kilkenny (0-2), P Mannion (0-4, 3F). Subs: D Daly for Small, P Andrews (0-1) for Costello, K McManamon for Andrews, D Gavin for O’Sullivan, C Basquel for Scully

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-2, 2F), P Hampsey, R McNamee, HP McGeary, T McCann, F Burns, B McDonnell, C McShane (1-4, 3F), R Donnelly (0-2), M Donnelly (0-3), N Sludden, C Meyler, B Kennedy, P Harte (0-3, 3F), K McGeary. Subs: R Brennan for McCann, C McAliskey for Burns, C Cavanagh for McNamee, D McCurry for Kennedy

Referee: J Henry (Mayo)