All-Ireland SFC: Tyrone knock out Longford
All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 2
TYRONE 2-15 LONGFORD 1-14
By Kevin Egan at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
The 19-year history of the football qualifiers has seen a number of fancied sides come crashing down at the hands of the home side at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, but Tyrone slammed the door shut on Padraic Davis’ men this evening with a masterclass in game management and efficiency.
The Red Hand men showed a killer instinct to turn two defensive errors into two goals for Cathal McShane in the first 20 minutes of play, and from then on Longford were kept at arm’s length throughout the contest, until a late burst of 1-3 without reply gave the scoreboard a deceptively competitive appearance.
That’s not to say that Mickey Harte will consider his team’s performance to be without flaws, and he’ll be particularly concerned with the way that Longford won fractionally more clean possession at midfield, not to mention how four of his starting six forwards failed to raise a flag between them.
On the other side of the coin, they dealt with Longford’s attempts to look for full forward James McGivney with direct long ball easily, and moved the ball out of defence very well. They were turned over for Longford’s first point inside the opening 60 seconds, but from then on their control of possession was superb, as they worked the ball up the field patiently and effectively.
After Mimnagh kicked that opening score, Tyrone hammered the hosts with 1-3 on the bounce in the next ten minutes. Wing back Michael Cassidy was one of five players drafted into the team after the Ulster semi-final defeat to Donegal and the Ardboe man seized his chance with both hands, kicking a fine point of his own to draw the sides level and making a huge attacking contribution for the remainder of the game.
Peter Harte kicked two frees and then Niall Sludden hoovered up a poor kickout to set up McShane for a goal; the home supporters doubly deflated by the way McElligott blocked his first attempt and Paddy Collum got a firm hand on his second, only for the ball to ricochet into the net anyway.
When Cassidy’s high ball wasn’t dealt with by Collum and McShane was able to get a firm touch to claim a second goal in the 18th minute, Tyrone’s place in Monday morning’s qualifier draw looked assured.
Longford continued to battle with intensity around the middle third but they found the twin towers of Ronan McNamee and Niall Morgan to be an insurmountable obstacle, and by half time they trailed 2-7 to 0-5, with no score from play since their opening effort from Mimnagh.
Colm P Smyth and Michael Quinn picked off some excellent scores from distance in the second half but Tyrone were always able to conjure up an immediate response, mainly through their hard-running play that yielded a series of scorable frees. Cathal McShane didn’t add to his first half total of 2-2 but he earned several chances that were converted by Harte, and when two late points from Ben McDonnell helped to push them ten clear going into stoppage time, very few of the 4,162 supporters would have argued that the margin was anything other than fair.
In just three minutes of added time Longford blasted 1-3 to give the impression of a tight game, but by then their race was run for the season.
Scorers for Tyrone: Peter Harte 0-9 (0-7 frees), Cathal McShane 2-2, Ben McDonnell 0-2, Michael Cassidy & Hugh Pat McGeary 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: David McGivney 0-4 frees, Colm P Smyth 0-3, Iarla O’Sullivan 1-0, Barry McKeon (0-1f) & Michael Quinn 0-2 each, Daniel Mimnagh, Joseph Hagan & Shane Kenny 0-1 each.
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Hugh Pat McGeary, Ronan McNamee, Michael McKernan; Michael Cassidy, Kieran McGeary, Frank Burns; Colm Cavanagh, Brian Kennedy; Matthew Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Declan McClure; Darren McCurry, Cathal McShane, Peter Harte. Subs used: Ben McDonnell for Kennedy (HT), Conor Meyler for Kieran McGeary (HT), Rory Brennan for McKernan (42), Kyle Coney for McClure (55), Conor McAliskey for McCurry (55), Conall McCann for Sludden 63.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Patrick Fox, Pádraig McCormack, Barry O’Farrell; Darran Quinn, Donal McElligott, Michael Quinn; John Keegan, David McGivney; Gary Rogers, Barry McKeon, Colm P Smyth; Daniel Mimnagh, James McGivney, Joseph Hagan. Subs used: Aidan McElligott for Rogers (42), Darragh Doherty for O’Farrell (55), Andrew Farrell for Keegan (56), Shane Kenny for Mimnagh (66), Mark Hughes for J McGivney (66), Iarla O’Sullivan for Hagan (70+1)
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)