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Allianz FL D1: McCurry inspires Tyrone

Darren McCurry, Tyrone, and Michael Plunkett, Mayo, in Allianz Football League action. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Darren McCurry, Tyrone, and Michael Plunkett, Mayo, in Allianz Football League action. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Allianz Football League Division One

Tyrone 1-15 Mayo 1-11

By Francis Mooney at O'Neill's Healy Park

Darren McCurry came off the bench to cast a spell over Healy Park, kicking eight second half points as Tyrone scored a vital win over Mayo to pick up two points that lift them out of the drop zone.

It was a transformed Tyrone side that came out for that second period, after playing second fiddle to an energised Mayo prior to the break.

Darragh Canavan’s brilliant 47th minute goal was the spark, and the peerless McCurry did the best with classy striking.

Manager Kevin McStay made a raft of pre-match changes, and when injured Diarmuid O’Connor limped off after just five minutes, their depth was tested.

But following a tepid opening, they began to find their traditional running game, with Stephen Coen, Enda Hession and Rory Brickenden powering ahead at every opportunity.

Jordan Flynn’s workrate was immense, and a couple of important turnovers swung the balance in his side’s favour, after Cillian O’Connor had edged them ahead with a couple of frees.

Two Peter Harte placed balls brought the Red Hands level, but the westerners struck an important blow with a 23rd minute goal.

Mattie Ruane threaded a pass to Hession in front of goal, and Cormac Quinn’s rash tackle on the Garrymore man earned him a black card.

A a double blow for the home side saw Brendan Cawley award a penalty, which O’Connor crashed to the top right corner of Niall Morgan’s net.

Tyrone struggled to break down the visitors’ defence, and after falling four points behind, they did craft a goal chance, but Seanie O’Donnell’s shot zipped wide, before a Darragh Canavan free clawed back a point.

Mayo led by 1-4 to 0-4 at the interval, but Tyrone wasted no time in clawing it back, with Darren McCurry and Canavan both hitting the target within two minutes of the restart.

Pressing the Mayo kick-out, Tyrone were a transformed side, going level through substitute McCurry, and they sliced through the visiting defence for Peter Harte to drill a low shot just wide.

Now the Mayo rearguard looked much less assured, very much on the back foot, and when they did get forward, Diarmuid Duffy thought he had regained the lead with a point, but Morgan plucked the ball from a foot above the crossbar.

They did go back in front with a sweetly struck free from goalkeeper Rob Hennelly, but Canavan’s superb 47th minute goal had the Ulster side three clear, as he finished a move heavily involving McCurry, a huge influence on the game since his half-time introduction.

Tyrone were able to find pockets of space off their fast breaks from deep, and another couple of McCurry gems had them six clear.

Boss McStay sent for O’Donoghue, who pulled back a point following his 48th minute introduction, but Mayo were struggling to swing the game back in their favour as Tyrone maintained the intensity going forward.

Fergal Boland also found the target, but the renewed energy of a fired-up Tyrone side saw them close down the threat and counter again for McCurry to twist the knife.

Scorers for Tyrone: D Canavan 1-4 (1f), D McCurry 0-8 (6fs), Peter Harte 0-2 (2fs), S O’Donnell 0-1.

Scorers for Mayo: C O’Connor 1-2 (1-0 pen, 2fs), R O’Donoghue, F Boland 0-2 each, C McStay, R Brickennden, R Hennelly (f), S Coen, B Tuohy 0-1 each.

Tyrone: N Morgan; C Devlin, P Hampsey, A Clarke; M McKernan, C Quinn, N Devlin; B Kennedy, C Donnelly; C Daly, C Kilpatrick, P Harte: J Oguz, D Canavan, S O’Donnell.

Subs: D McCurry for Donnelly (HT), B Cullen for McKernan (HT), K McGeary for O’Donnell (67), R Canavan for D Canavan (70+6).

Mayo: R Hennelly; J Coyne, R Brickenden, S Callinan; M Plunkett, S Coen, E Hession; D O’Connor, M Ruane; D Duffy, F Boland, J Flynn; C O’Connor, T Conroy, C McStay.

Subs: J Carney for D O’Connor (5), R O’Donoghue for McStay (48), E McLoughlin for Plunkett (48), B Tuohy for Ruane (57) D McHale for Duffy (62).

Referee: B Cawley (Kildare).