All Ireland Senior Football semi-final
Tyrone 0-18, Kerry 1-18
Tyrone missed out on the opportunity to reach back to back All Ireland senior finals for the first time in their history when they slipped to a disappointing three point defeat at the hands of Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.
Things looked to be going according to plan for the Red Hands in the first half as they played some superb football on their way to establishing a deserved 0-9 to 0-5 interval lead.
Kerry though proved to be a different side in the second half and after fighting back to draw level a crucial Stephen O’Brien goal proved to be the difference as they made it through to the September 1st decider against five in a row chasing Dublin.
It was a game that Tyrone will look back on and feel that it was one that got away. Kerry’s first four scores were a mixture of two frees and two mistakes while O’Brien’s goal also came as the result of a misplaced pass when Tyrone were on attack.
In Cathal McShane Tyrone had one of the best players on the field as he once again led the attack in style finishing with an impressive 0-7 to his name but even his efforts weren’t enough to get Tyrone over the finishing line.
Tyrone opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Mattie Donnelly and Frank Burns combined for half back, Michael McKernan to clip over but Kerry were level within 60 seconds courtesy of a close in free from David Clifford.
Burns again turned provider for McShane to turn sharply and split the posts before Donnelly got in on the act with another fine point.
Tyrone had settled well but by the 11th minute the sides were level as Sean O’Shea converted a free while full forward Paul Geaney got his side’s first point from play after intercepting an attempted pass from keeper, Niall Morgan.
Morgan made amends when knocking over a '45' only for Clifford to level matters with an effort from out on the left wing.
Niall Sludden then exchanged passes with McShane to put Tyrone back in front before McShane, who was giving marker Jason Foley a torrid time, scored again.
O’Shea converted a '45' but that score in the 23rd minute proved to be Kerry’s last of the opening period. McShane, Donnelly and Sludden all split the posts in the closing stages of the half as Tyrone left the field with a spring in their step.
O’Shea opened the second half scoring from another placed ball before Geaney halved the deficit by the 40th minute with an effort from play.
McShane then got his first from a free after he had been fouled himself but O’Shea cancelled that out at the other end of the field from a placed ball as well which looked a soft enough decision.
McShane and O’Shea traded points from further frees before Kerry substitute Jack Sherwood reduced the deficit to the minimum with a quality strike.
Tyrone came straight down the field for Michael Cassidy to find Connor McAliskey and the substitute hit a beauty with the outside of his boot with his first touch since being introduced.
Kerr,y though, had the bit between their teeth and after midfielder David Moran had scored David Clifford levelled matters at 0-12 apiece with a quarter of an hour left to play.
Tyrone came straight down the field but a promising attack saw Kieran McGeary’s pass intercepted by Stephen O’Brien and when the ball was quickly moved forward O’Brien made up great ground to get on the end of a Geaney pass to finish to the net past Morgan for a crucial score.
O’Brien quickly added a point from play before Morgan and O’Shea exchanged scores from placed kicks.
Clifford scored again before McShane hit a beauty, Tyrone’s only point from play in the second half from their starting 15. Richard Donnelly then closed the gap to a single score with the game into the six minutes of allotted injury time.
Kerry though were always able to keep Tyrone at arms length with scores from Geaney and Clifford and while Tyrone had the final say through a Peter Harte free their efforts on the day just came up short.
Tyrone scorers: Cathal McShane 0-7 (3f), Matthew Donnelly 0-2, Niall Sludden 0-2, Niall Morgan 0-2 (2'45), Michael McKernan 0-1, Connor McAliskey 0-1, Richie Donnelly 0-1, Darren McCurry 0-1, Peter Harte 0-1 (1f)
Kerry scorers: Sean O'Shea 0-6 (5f 1 '45), David Clifford 0-5 (1f), Sean O'Brien 1-2, Paul Geaney 0-3, David Moran 0-1, Brian O Beaglaoich 0-1
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Michael Cassidy, Ronan McNamee, Rory Brennan; Michael McKernan, Kieran McGeary, Frank Burns; Colm Cavanagh, Richard Donnelly, Matthew Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Peter Harte; Darren McCurry, Padraig Hampsey, Conor Meyler. SUBS: Connor McAliskey for N. Sludden (52), Tiernan McCann for K. McGeary (57), Darren McCurry for Cassidy (65), Brian Kennedy for C. Cavanagh (68)
Kerry: Shane Ryan, Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, Tom O'Sullivan, Paul Murphy, Gavin Crowley, Shane Enright; David Moran, Adrian Spillane; Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Séan O'Shea, Stephen O'Brien; David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Killian Spillane. SUBS: Jack Sherwood for A. Spillane (HT), Gavin White for Shane Enright (HT), Tommy Walsh for J. Foley (50), Dara Moynihan for K. Spillane (57), Jonathan Lyne for G. Crowley (70)
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)