Allianz FL D1: Tyrone stun Dublin
ALLIANZ FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION 1
TYRONE 1-14 DUBLIN 1-11
By John Harrington at Croke Park
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte declared this victory over Dublin “a very satisfying one”, and you could understand why.
His team played with great tenacity, tactical nous, and a real cutting edge in attack that posed all sorts of questions Dublin ultimately couldn’t answer.
Tyrone have been criticised in the past for being too laboured in their build-up, but they mixed up their usual running game with a more direct style to great effect tonight.
Cathal McShane and Mattie Donnelly formed a highly effective two-pronged attack, and both profited from a steady supply of perfectly weighted deliveries into them.
Tyrone’s victory was all the more impressive considering they were reduced to 14 men for the final 25 minutes of the match after Niall Sludden was given his marching orders after committing a black-card offence after earlier being yellow-carded.
As for Dublin, it was a thoroughly miserable night all round.
Not only did they lose a third League match in a season for the first time under Jim Gavin, they also lost Cormac Costello, John Small, and Paddy Andrews to injury.
Andrews was taken to hospital after a heavy collision with Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan, while Costello and Small seemed to pick up leg injuries.
Manager Jim Gavin didn’t sugar-coat his feelings after the match, declaring their level of performance was just not good enough for a Dublin team.
Tyrone showed good intent from the off, needing just 25 seconds to open the scoring through Mattie Donnelly, but Dublin struck the first really serious blow of the game a few minutes later when Cormac Costello goaled.
The Whitehall man is full of confidence at the moment and when he backs himself to run at full pelt at a defender there are very in the game who can live with his pace.
He displayed those jet-heels yet again when he paced onto a pass from Dean Rock and outstripped the Tyrone cover defence before finishing confidently past Niall Morgan.
That setback didn’t knock a beat out of Tyrone. They scored the next two points of the match thanks to another effort from the lively Donnelly and a Peter Harte free to level the tie up.
There was already a lot to admire about their play. They were defending in numbers whenever Dublin had the ball, but when they turned it over they weren’t afraid to commit bodies to attack either.
Donnelly and Cathal McShane were nicely in sync, and Tyrone were picking them out with some quality deliveries from the middle third of the field.
Their best move of the match yet resulted in a cracking goal on 20 minutes when Richard Donnelly sent a raking ball to Donnelly who put McShane through on goal with a perfectly weighted pass.
McShane held his nerve impressively, advancing on Stephen Cluxton before dinking his shot under the Dublin goalkeeper who sold himself a little by jumping high in anticipation of a more forceful strike.
McShane followed that up with a point after winning a great mark, and then a Niall Morgan free had Tyrone 1-6 to 1-3 ahead by the 31st minute.
Dublin suffered two more set-backs with those injuries to Small and Costello, but they rallied before the break nevertheless to reduce the deficit to two points, 1-7 to 1-5.
We’ve regularly seen Dublin come out and blow teams away in the third quarter of matches, but it never looked like happening tonight.
Tyrone made another strong statement by scoring the first point of the second-half and it was that man McShane again as he claimed another mark above David Byrne and pointed it.
Dublin did manage to hit the next two points of the match, but Tyrone immediately cancelled them out with a brace of their own to signal they were going nowhere.
But when Sludden was given his marching orders moments after a Paul Mannion point had reduced Dublin’s deficit to just two, you might have expected the Tyrone challenge to fade with 20 minutes of normal time still left to play.
Instead their 14 men lifted their collective effort to an even higher level, and the manner in which the held onto possession and moved the ball down the pitch was hugely impressive.
And once they got it as far as the middle third they continued with their fruitful tactic on the night of kicking in long deliveries and claiming marks.
Two in quick succession that were converted from Peter Harte and Cathal McShane followed on from a brilliant effort from play by Richie Donnelly to push Tyrone 1-14 to 1-9 ahead.
Dublin did their best to up the ante in the closing minutes but all they could muster was a Ciaran Kilkenny point from play and a Paul Mannion free.
Tyrone kept them at bay comfortably enough, and even when Ciaran Kilkenny did manage a shot a goal late on, defender Ben McDonnell was there to get a foot to it to turn it around for a ’45.
All in all it was a thoroughly deserved victory by the Red Hand County who will take a lot of encouragement from the nature of it.
Scorers for Tyrone: Cathal McShane 1-4 (2M, 1f), Mattie Donnelly 0-3, Peter Harte 0-3 (2f, 1M), Richard Donnelly 0-2, Niall Morgan 0-2 (2f)
Scorers for Dublin: Paul Mannion 0-4 (2f, 1M), Cormac Costello 1-0, Dean Rock 0-2 (2f), Ciaran Kilkenny 0-2, Brian Fenton 0-1, Paddy Andrews 0-1, Con O’Callaghan 0-1
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Kieran McGeary; Tiernan McCann, Hugh Pat McGeary, Ben McDonnell; Peter Harte, Brian Kennedy; Richie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler; Cathal McShane, Mattie Donnelly, Frank Burns. Subs: Rory Brennan for Tiernan McCann (12), Connor McAliskey for Frank Burns (60), Colm Cavanagh for Ronan McNamee (62), Darren McCurry for Brian Kennedy (70)
DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Jonny Cooper, David Byrne, Cian O’Connor; James McCarthy, Cian O’Sullivan, John Small; Brian Fenton, Brian Howard; Paul Mannion, Cormac Costello, Niall Scully; Dean Rock, Ciaran Kilkenny, Con O’Callaghan. Subs: Darren Daly for John Small (30), Paddy Andrews for Cormac Costello (35), Kevin McManamon for Paddy Andrews (48), Darren Gavin for Cian O’Sullivan (57), Eoghan O’Gara for Dean Rock (60), Colm Basquel for Niall Scully (74)
Ref: Jerome Henry (Mayo)