Niall Sludden of Tyrone in action against Cian O'Donoghue of Kildare during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 3 match between Kildare and Tyrone at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
Niall Sludden of Tyrone in action against Cian O'Donoghue of Kildare during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 3 match between Kildare and Tyrone at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

All-Ireland SFC: Tyrone overcome 14-man Kildare

All-Ireland SFC Round 3 Qualifier


By John Harrington at St. Conleth’s Park, Newbridge

Tyrone are through to fourth round of the All-Ireland SFC courtesy of a workmanlike victory over Kildare in St. Conleth’s Park this evening.

They won by a handsome margin of 10 points in the end, but six points of that differential were scored in the final 10 minutes of the match.

Until then Kildare were gamely competitive, but having played with 14 men for most of the second-half after Mick O’Grady’s dismissal, you always sensed it was only a matter of time before they were burned off.

Even had they retained their full complement for the duration, you suspect they wouldn’t quite have had the nous to get the better of a Tyrone team that had the edge on them in most departments.

Right from the start, Tyrone made it clear their intention was to play a counter-attacking brand of football.

Whenever they didn’t have possession, they funnelled at least 12 and, quite often, 13 of their 14 outfield players back inside their own ’45 yard line.

They were happy to surrender territory and possession to Kildare in two-thirds of the pitch, but once the Lilywhites reached the Tyrone ’45 they were met with a wall of red.

Kildare struggled to find their way around it, and when they tried to burst their way through it they were invariably stripped of possession.

Tyrone’s ability to transition quickly from attack to defence once they forced those turn-overs was impressive, and by the 10th minute they were already leading by 1-2 to no score.

The goal was a slick piece of work too as Cathal McShane won the ball on the left side and fed it to the onrushing Niall Sludden who had taken a really incisive running line.

He could have taken an easy point, but instead he was ambitious enough to square the ball to the supporting Michael Cassidy who booted the ball emphatically to the net.

Neil Flynn finally got Kildare off the mark after taking a pass from the hard-working Chris Healy, but that score didn’t signal an immediate shift in the balance of power.

Tyrone’s rope-a-dope tactics were still working a treat and when Daren McCurry finished another clinical counter-attack with a fine point the Ulster side were 1-6 to 0-3 to the good.

Fergal Conway was doing his best to spark his team into life.

He constantly drove forward with the ball and his second point of the day after another charging run down the right reduced the gap to five points.

Frank Burns replied for Tyrone, but immediately afterwards the momentum of the tie shifted when Kildare scored a goal.

It was Conway who started the flowing move before two perfectly timed passes from Keith Cribbin and then Peter Kelly put Kevin Feely through on goal and he crashed home from close range.

Adam Tyrrell followed up with a converted free, and by now the home supporters had really found their voice.

Tyrone’s response was positive – two quick-fire points from Peter Harte (f) and McCurry – but Kildare had the last say of the half when that man Conway kicked his third from play.

Tyrone were leading 1-9 to 1-6 when the half-time whistle blew, but the encouraging roars the Kildare players received on their way to the dressing-room told you the home supporters felt their team was now well-positioned after a poor start.

Tyrone moved quickly to disabuse them of this notion by outscoring Kildare by 0-4 to 0-1 in the first even minutes of the second-half.

Peter Harte scored the fourth in that sequence, and as the second-half progressed he became more and more influential.

His ability to find pockets of space and either pick a judicious pass and or take his own score made him a consistent thorn in Kildare’s side.

Kevin Feely did his best to rouse his team with two really classy points in quick succession, but shortly after that Kildare were holed below the water-line when O’Grady received his second yellow card of the day for hauling down Cathal McShane.

McShane converted the resulting free and now Tyrone were 1-15 to 1-9 to the good, and with the numerical advantage.

It was going to take something extra-special from Kildare to salvage the game from there, and, in truth, it never looked likely.

They kept fighting manfully and had managed to cut the deficit to four points by the 63rd minute when Peter Kelly got forward to clip a nice point.

But Tyrone then killed the game off once and for all when Michael McKernan picked out Darren McCurry with a pass across the face of the goal that McCurry palmed to the net.

Tyrone coasted from there to the finish, safe in the knowledge that they were in the hat for tomorrow’s fourth-round draw.

Scorers for Tyrone: Peter Harte 0-7 (3f), Darren McCurry 1-2, Cathal McShane 0-5 (2f), Matthew Donnelly 0-3, Michael Cassidy 1-0, Frank Burns 0-2, Rory Brennan 0-1, Colm Cavanagh 0-1, Connor McAliskey 0-1.

Scorers for Kildare: Adam Tyrrell 0-6 (5f) Kevin Feely 1-2, Fergal Conway 0-3, Neil Flynn 0-2 (1f), Tommy Moolick 0-1, Peter Kelly 0-1,

TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Hugh Pat McGeary, Ronan McNamee, Rory Brennan; Michael Cassidy, Kieran McGeary, Frank Burns; Colm Cavanagh, Brian Kennedy; Matthew Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Peter Harte; Darren McCurry, Cathal McShane, Conor Meyler. Subs: Ben McDonnell for Brian Kennedy (22), Michael McKernan for Kieran McGeary (55), Connor McAliskey for Niall Sludden (60), Kyle Coney for Darren McCurry (66), Ciaran McLaughlin for Hugh Pat McGeary (71), Aidan McCrory for Michael Cassidy (71)

KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, Mick O’Grady, Peter Kelly; Cian O’Donoghue, Eoin Doyle, David Hyland; Kevin Feely, Fergal Conway; David Slattery, Chris Healy, Keith Cribbin; Adam Tyrrell, Ben McCormack, Neil Flynn. Subs: Jimmy Hyland for Ben Mccormack (11), Tommy Moolick for Keith Cribbin (48), Mark Barrett for Chris Healy (49), Eoghan O’Flaherty for David Slattery (60), Kevin O’Callaghan for Neil Flynn (64), Cathal McNally for Jimmy Hyland (68)

Ref: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)