Tyrone advance to decider
All Ireland SFC Semi-Final
TYRONE 1-13 MONAGHAN 0-15
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
Mickey Harte never lost faith. During the past decade Harte remained a believer that one day Tyrone would return to the grand stage of September football. Much to Tyrone's relief that mission has now been accomplished.
Ultimately a tight and tense encounter at GAA headquarters was decided by Niall Sludden’s 64th minute goal.
That crucial Tyrone major arrived just as Monaghan had hit the front for the first time in the afternoon, and the Red Hands survived to set up a decider meeting with standard bearers Dublin.
The opening period featured encouraging bursts from the two teams, who both enjoyed small pockets of supremacy.
Tyrone settled briskly accumulating a 0-5 to 0-2 advantage by the 11th minute with their shooting sharp early on.
Colm Cavanagh, Niall Sludden, Connor McAliskey, Frank Burns, and Cathal Burns all found the range for Tyrone, who thundered into the contest.
Monaghan, though, carried a threat at the opposite end with Conor McManus and Conor McCarthy a potent threat, but Vinny Corey was denied a 23rd minute goal when Tyrone custodian Niall Morgan made a smart save.
Despite Monaghan’s pressure Tyrone still led by 0-7 to 0-5 as the interval approached, but the match wasn’t short on intrigue.
Malachy O’Rourke’s charges landed three of the next four scores with McCarthy contributing handsomely following a Tiarnan McCann effort at the opposite end.
McCarthy’s two opportunistic scores ensured it was 0-8 each at the interval with the issue delicately poised.
After the restart it was cagey and tactical and with the stakes piled seriously high Tyrone made a dart as McAliskey clipped two scores.
Rory Beggan responded with a free, but Lee Brennan stroked over a score for Tyrone, who led by 0-11 to 0-9 in the 46th minute.
Once more Monaghan came swinging as a McManus free trimmed the gap to one before substitute Kieran Hughes landed the leveller.
Another McManus free steered Monaghan ahead, but Tyrone stayed cool and their patience was rewarded.
Sludden reacted swiftly to mine a goal following a Darren Hughes block on McCann and suddenly Tyrone had a two point lead to protect.
McManus narrowed the gap, but two Peter Harte scores carried huge relevance in the dying embers stretching the advantage back out to three.
Kieran Hughes and Drew Wylie struck for Monaghan, but Tyrone held on to record a thoroughly satisfying success. A decade on from the remarkable summer of 2008, another Tyrone All Ireland Final appearance beckons.
Scorers for Tyrone: Niall Sludden 1-2, Connor McAliskey 0-4 (2fs), Peter Harte 0-2 (1f), Cathal McShane, Colm Cavanagh, Frank Burns, Tiarnan McCann, Lee Brennan (f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Monaghan: Conor McManus 0-7 (6fs), Conor McCarthy 0-3, Kieran Hughes 0-2, Drew Wylie, Fintan Kelly, Rory Beggan (f) 0-1 each.
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee; Tiarnan McCann, Mattie Donnelly, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Cathal McShane; Kieran McGeary, Niall Sludden, Frank Burns; Lee Brennan, Richie Donnelly, Connor McAliskey.
Subs: Harry Loughran for Burns (HT), Mark Bradley for Lee Brennan (48), Rory Brennan for McNamee (51), Conall McCann for R Donnelly (58), Ronan O’Neill for McAliskey (63), Declan McClure for McShane (63).
MONAGHAN: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Colin Walshe, Vinny Corey, Karl O’Connell; Darren Hughes, Niall Kearns; Fintan Kelly, Dermot Malone, Shane Carey; Conor McCarthy, Ryan McAnespie, Conor McManus.
Subs: Dessie Mone for Malone (46), Kieran Hughes for Carey (51), Jack McCarron for Corey (69).
REFEREE: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).