All Ireland SFC Qualifier: Tyrone survive tricky test
All Ireland SFC Round 2 Qualifier
TYRONE 3-14 CARLOW 1-10
By Francis Mooney at Netwatch Cullen Park
Tyrone got their running game going in the second half to bring Carlow’s fairytale season to an end at Netwatch Cullen Park.
The Red Hands bagged three goals to romp to a comfortable 10 points win and book their place in round three of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers.
Turlough O’Brien’s men played a possession game early on, frustrating the Red Hands, and while they got to half-time trailing by just three points, there was always the feeling that the Ulster champions would cut loose after the restart.
And that they did, stretching their opponents along the flanks and picking holes in a tiring defence.
Niall Sludden, Peter Harte and Richie Donnelly all got in for goals, and Mickey Harte’s team won with plenty to spare to line up for Monday morning’s live broadcast draw.
This was a bridge too far for the Barrowsiders, who have won many admirers with their approach, winning promotion for the first time in 35 years and making a Leinster Championship breakthrough with a high profile win over Kildare.
But here the gulf in class was evident from an early stage as Tyrone set out their stall and made clear their intentions of playing football long into the summer of 2018.
Paul Broderick gave the Carlow faithful reason to be cheerful as he hoisted a monster free between the posts from 50 metres close to the sideline.
Richie Donnelly steered over the equaliser in the seventh minute, but the Leinster men went back in front with Darragh Foley’s effort.
Frank Burns and Conor Meyler were both on target with well worked scores as the Red Hads hit the front for the first time in the 15th minute, but seconds later, the Carlow men stunned the reigning Ulster champions with a Darragh O’Brien goal.
However, that 16th minute strike was to be their last of the half, and Tyrone reeled off a rash of scores from McAliskey (3) and Mattie Donnelly (2) to lead by 0-8 to 1-2 at the interval.
With Declan McClure, Peter Harte and McAliskey all finding the target, the Carlow dream was slipping away, and it all came crashing down in the 48th minute when Sludden fired in Tyrone’s first goal.
Harte smashed home a penalty to put the game out of sight, and the Carlow men were out on their feet. Tyrone, with men raiding in support, finished the job off in stoppage time as Conall McCann provided the assist for Richie Donnelly to rifle home goal number three.
Carlow did keep fighting until the end, with Darragh Foley and Broderick hitting a handful of frees, but this game had long since been destined for an inevitable ending.
Scorers for Tyrone: Richie Donnelly 1-2, Niall Sludden 1-1, Peter Harte 1-1 (1-0 pen), Connor McAliskey 0-5 (3fs), Mattie Donnelly 0-2, Frank Burns, Conor Meyler, Declan McClure 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carlow: Darragh Foley 0-5 (3fs), Darragh O'Brien 1-1, Paul Broderick 0-4 (3fs).
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Michael McKernan, Frank Burns, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Declan McClure; Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler; Cathal McShane, Richie Donnelly, Connor McAliskey.
Subs: Kieran McGeary for McAliskey (59), Ronan O’Neill for Sludden (60), Padraig McNulty for McShane (61), Conall McCann for M Donnelly (66), Aidan McCrory for McCarron (70).
CARLOW: Robbie Molloy: Chris Crowley, Shane Redmond, Conor Lawlor: Jordan Morrissey, Daniel St Ledger, Ciaran Moran; Sean Murphy, Eoghan Ruth; Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley, Diarmuid Walshe; Paul Broderick, Darragh O’Brien, John Murphy.
Subs: Mark Rennick for Walshe (39), Brendan Kavanagh for Moran (49), BJ Molloy for Crowley (54), Cian Lawlor for J Murphy (54), Kieran Nolan for Morrissey (59), Lee Walker for O’Brien (60).
REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork