Allianz FL D1: Donnelly is Tyrone's hero in Newbridge
Allianz Football League Division One
TYRONE 1-16 KILDARE 0-18
By Brendan Coffey at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge
A sensational left-footed point from Mattie Donnelly five minutes into injury time secured Tyrone’s first win of the league and a precious two points on the road in Newbridge.
Donnelly delivered the winning score with remarkable poise at such a late stage in the game. Moving forward from his deep lying role in front of the Tyrone defence, he showed no fear as he galloped inside the Kildare 45 before sending over a towering score from the left wing with time almost up.
That proved the difference during a closely contested and entertaining affair in St Conleth’s Park. Trailing by the minimum at half-time (1-8 to 0-10) Kildare levelled the contest five times into the second half, but could not get their noses in front when it mattered most. This result leaves them fighting for survival with nothing to show for their efforts after three rounds in Division 1.
The Lilies enjoyed a bright opening and were firmly in control throughout the early stages. They scored the first four points and enjoyed a 5-1 cushion at the end of the opening quarter. Tyrone were slow to start. It took them 12 minutes to score, but a mini rally midway through the half in which they hit three points on the trot brought them back into it. Kildare responded and kicked on again to move 8-4 ahead after 25 minutes.
Despite playing second fiddle, Tyrone remained alive to the possibilities whenever Kildare stumbled and they seized the maximum when Lee Brennan struck for the only goal in the 28th minute. That score levelled the contest, and tilted the balance for Tyrone at an important stage. Three more points followed before the interval, including a long range free from goalkeeper Niall Morgan, as they edged in front at the break.
Kildare took the initiative again at the start of the second half, scoring first through Niall Kelly, but it was tit for tat throughout the half. Tyrone retained the upper hand until Cian O’Donoghue scored a fine point from play in the 56th minute to nudge Kildare in front.
That lead lasted less than 30 seconds. Tyrone responded with a superb score from the match winner, Mattie Donnelly, who played a pivotal role in the closing stages. Kildare would only score once more before the finish, an injury time free from midfielder Kevin Feely, and they were left to rue a number of missed opportunities, including a close range free that Feely failed to convert in the 67th minute.
Tyrone rode their luck at times but their resilience was rewarded when Donnelly struck the winner – a score worthy of winning any match. With two points in the bag, Tyrone can look up again. Kildare now face an uphill battle to retain their top flight status.
Scorers for Tyrone: Lee Brennan 1-3 (3fs) Niall Sludden 0-3, Mattie Donnelly 0-2, Cathal McShane 0-2, Conor McAliskey 0-2 (1f), Niall Moragn 0-1 (f), Darren McCurry 0-1, Padraig McNulty 0-1, Tiarnan McCann 0-1.
Scorers for Kildare: Kevin Feely 0-9 (9fs) Fergal Conway 0-2, Mark Donnellan 0-1 (45), Peter Kelly 0-1, Cian O’Donoghue 0-1, Niall Kelly 0-1, Paul Cribbin 0-1, Ben McCormack 0-1, Daniel Flynn 0-1.
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Hugh Pat McGeary, Padraig Hampsey, Cathal McCarron; Tiarnan McCann, Rory Brennan, Ciaran McLaughin; Mattie Donnelly, Padraig McNulty; Conor Meyler, Niall Sludden, Peter Harte; Lee Brennan, Cathal McShane, Conor McAliskey.
Subs: Michael McKernan for McLaughlin (39), Darren McCurry for R Brennan (43), Ronan McNamee for McNulty (54), Conall McCann for L Brennan (58), Mark Bradley for McAliskey (61), Kieran McGeary for T McCann (70).
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Peter Kelly, David Hyland, Mick O'Grady; Jonathan Byrne, Eoin Doyle, Cian O'Donoghue; Kevin Feely, Tommy Moolick; Fergal Conway, Niall Kelly, Paul Cribbin; Ben McCormack, Daniel Flynn, Paddy Brophy.
Subs: Jimmy Hyland for McCormack (HT), Luke Flynn for Moolick (48), Chris Healy for N Kelly (56), Keith Cribbin for Conway (61), Cathal McNally for Brophy (66).
REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).