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Shane Walsh, Galway, and Kieran McGeary, Tyrone, in Allianz Football League action at Healy Park.
Shane Walsh, Galway, and Kieran McGeary, Tyrone, in Allianz Football League action at Healy Park.

Allianz FL D1: Tyrone defeat Galway


Allianz Football League Division One

TYRONE 3-15 GALWAY 1-14

By Michael Devlin at Healy Park

Tyrone turned it around in spectacular fashion in Omagh finishing off their Allianz Football League campaign with a win.

Three goals in the second half completed a 14-point swing against a Galway team who appeared to be in the mood until the halfway point.

Both teams were out for the win to earn a place in the final, in the hope that relegation battling Monaghan would get a result against Mayo in Castlebar. Dispatches from proceedings in McHale Park were coming through minute by minute, but it looked like the that score was only going to be of interest to Galway as Tyrone played the first half well below par.

Galway were far and away the better side in the first 35 minutes and thoroughly deserved their 1-11 to 0-7 lead at the break. Shane Walsh was unerring from frees as well as from play, at his 0-5 haul in the first half embodied a very clinical Galway side in front of the posts.

Tyrone got off the mark first with a Peter Harte free, but the visitors soon set out their stall Johnny Heaney, Michael Daly and Walsh all pointing in quick succession.

Harte followed up with another from play before Michael Cassidy brilliantly rounded his opponent to make three each after 15 minutes, but the direct ball into the Cathal McShane-Mattie Donnelly partnership that served Tyrone so well in Croke Park last Saturday night wasn’t quite functioning as efficiently today.

At the other end, Galway’s movement was much more impressive as Walsh, Heaney and Michael Daly were transferring possession with ease. Their goal in the 18th minute however came by much more direct means as a long ball into Niall Morgan’s area was tipped in by Danny Cummins.

McShane and Walsh traded frees thereafter before Niall Sludden had a plea for a penalty turned down by referee Cormac O’Reilly. Another Walsh free was followed up by two swift Tyrone points in succession from Mattie Donnelly and Kieran McGeary.

Galway’s response was immediate though as Walsh raced through to split the posts moments later before two more scores were added by Heaney and Daly.

Mattie Donnelly had to work hard for a score that brought the deficit back to four points, but Galway finished the half in a flourish with Walsh, Gareth Bradshaw and Heaney all hitting the target.

By the twelfth minute of the second half though, that commanding Galway lead had been obliterated. McShane and Harte tagged on frees before the former collected a route one pass in the penalty area before being hauled down. Harte made no mistake with the spot kick.

A few minutes later, Tyrone were in the lead. Galway goalie Ruairi Lavelle found himself in no mans land and coughed up possession 30 yards from goal, and Mattie Donnelly was there to capitalise on the error, keeping his cool to roll the ball soccer-style into the empty night. The Tyrone supporters had found their voice again.

Another Walsh free registered Galway’s first score of the second half in the 53rd minute, but Tyrone’s tails were up and Donnelly and McShane (2) extended their lead to a three points moments later. Galway’s fortunes were hindered further when Eoghan Kerin received a black card and was sent to the sin bin.

There was drama again as Lavelle was caught with the goal vacant for a second time, this time though Peter Harte couldn’t float a distance kick into the empty net. A tremendous score from the impressive Michael Cassidy from the right wing kept Tyrone in command.

Galway did have a sniff of goal as the game entered stoppage time, but Heaney’s drive at goal was several inches over the cross bar. Substitute Darren McCurry kept the Tyrone cushion at four with a neat point soon after.

It was all hands to the pump in Tyrone defence in the closing stages as Galway pushed hard for a goal to get back in the game. Antaine O Laoi pointed a free but the goal they craved came at the other end for Tyrone, another high ball into McShane breaking to the path for Kyle Coney to simply tap home.

Mattie Donnelly’s point moments later brought up a big roar around Healy Park and capped a satisfying win for Harte’s men.

Scorers for Tyrone: Mattie Donnelly 1-4, Peter Harte 1-3 (1-0 pen, 2fs) Cathal McShane 0-3 (2fs), Kyle Coney 1-0, Michael Cassidy 0-2, Kieran McGeary 0-1, Darren McCurry 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-6 (4fs), Johnny Heaney 0-4, Danny Cummins 1-0, Michael Daly 0-2, Gareth Bradshaw 0-1, Antaine O Laoi 0-1.

TYRONE: Niall Morgan, Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Hugh Pat McGeary; Michael Cassidy, Colm Cavanagh, Ben McDonnell; Brian Kennedy, Richard Donnelly; Matthew Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler; Cathal McShane, Peter Harte, Kieran McGeary.

Subs: Michael McKernan for B. McDonnell (42), Kyle Coney for Hugh Pat McGeary (42), Darren McCurry for N. Sludden (65), Conal McCann for R. Donnelly (68).

GALWAY: Ruairi Lavelle; Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy O Ceallaigh, David Wynne; Gary O’Donnell, John Daly, Gareth Bradshaw; Tom Flynn, Ciaran Duggan; Finnian O Laoi, Shane Walsh, Johnny Heaney; Danny Cummins, Michael Daly, Antaine O Laoi.

Subs: Cein D’Arcy for C. Duggan (HT), Sean Kelly for A. O Laoi (42), Peter Cooke for D. Cummins (57), Kieran Molloy for G. Bradshaw (66).

REFEREE: Cormac Reilly (Meath).

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