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Allianz NFL Round-Up

February 16th, 2009

tyrone-kerry-nfl2009.jpgAllianz NFL Division 1:
Tyrone 0-13 Kerry 2-10

Tyrone suffered their first defeat of the NFL Division One campaign, but it’s highly likely that the All-Ireland champions will get an opportunity to redress the balance before the year is out.

This was billed as the big grudge showdown, the day on which returned Kerry boss Jack O’Connor would begin the task of perfecting a method of getting the better of his Red Hand nemesis.

O’Connor came to Omagh looking for answers, and just when he thought he had cracked it, Tyrone snapped back and sank their teeth in.

Kerry may have taken the league points, but arguably, Tyrone emerged from this tense, fractious Healy Park tie with more satisfaction than the Kingdom.

Kerry’s utter dominance right from the outset was quite remarkable.

Their workrate, movement and quality of finishing had the All-Ireland champions in turmoil.

David Moran’s presence in midfield, Paul Galvin’s workrate, the tricky running lines of Darren O’Sullivan and the dynamic attacking impact of wing back Aidan O’Mahony gave the Kingdom something extra in vital areas.

And up front, Colm Cooper and Tommy Walsh were supreme target men who caused all sorts of problems, the Gooch feeding off the big Kerins O’Rahilly’s man and bagging a 2-3 tally in the first half alone.

The first goal, on nine minutes, came from a route one delivery from Seamus Scanlon, with Cooper turning his marker to plant the ball in the bottom corner of Johnny Curran’s net.

Four minutes later, another lofted ball into the danger area set up a second, Walsh getting in a flick for Cooper to punch home at the far post.

Tyrone attempted to reassemble their All-Ireland final back two with Joe McMahon dropping back to join younger brother Justin, but almost immediately, the former was off on a yellow card, with Conor Gormley coming in for his first appearance of the season.

And so the punishment continued, and by the halfway stage, Kerry were in cruise control, ahead by 11 points at 2-8 to 0-3

Tyrone displayed greater urgency on the restart, but still needed two brilliant point blank saves from Johnny Curran to deny Walsh.

Kerry were no longer allowed to build from deep and deliver from distance to the front line as Tyrone finally reverted to their famous pressure game.

And it worked. The scores flowed from Cavanagh, supremely accurate from frees, Mulligan, Justin McMahon and Enda McGinley.

Bryan Sheehan’s free ended a scoreless spell of more than half an hour for Kerry, but they had done enough before the break.

Tyrone: J Curran, M Swift, Justin McMahon (0-1), M McGee, D Harte, R McMenamin, P Jordan (0-1), E McGinley (0-1), A Cassidy, T McGuigan (0-2, 1f), C McCullagh (0-2, 1f), Joe McMahon, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-5, 5f), O Mulligan (0-1).

Subs: C Gormley for Joe McMahon (yellow card, 15), K Hughes for McGee (h-t), M Penrose for Cassidy (50), R Mellon for C Cavanagh (65)

Kerry: D Murphy, P Reidy, A O’Shea, K Young, A O’Mahony (0-1), M O Se (0-1), D Bohan, S Scanlon, D Moran (0-1, 1f), P Galvin (0-1), Declan O’Sullivan, S O’Sullivan, C Cooper (2-3, 3f), T Walsh, Darren O’Sullivan (0-2).

Subs: B Sheehan (0-1, 1f) for S O’Sullivan (28) M Corridan for O’Mahony (yellow card, 38), A Maher for Young (yellow card, 50), B Moran for A O’Shea (yellow card, 59), P O’Connor for D O’Sullivan (66)

Referee: J White (Donegal)

Attendance: 11,174

Allianz NFL Division 1:
Derry 1-18 Westmeath 0-7

Derry claimed their second National League Division One win in a row with a 1-18 to 0-7 win over Westmeath at Ballinascreeen.

The National League champions led 0-9 to 0-5 at the break, but they restricted the Lake County to just two scores in the second half to claim the easiest of wins.

Eoin Bradley’s point in the dying minutes highlighted the gulf between the sides on the day, his 40-metre shot with the outside of the boot in the dying minutes putting 14 points between the sides.

The Derry goal came from the boot of Eoin Browne, while the Bradley brothers, Eoin and Paddy, hit 0-5 each.

Westmeath’s task was not helped when David Duffy was sent to the line for a yellow card.

Dessie Dolan, Dennis Glennon and Thomas McDaniel were all on the mark for Tomas O’Flatharta’s side, but they were hopelessly outclassed by a Derry side making great strides under Damien Cassidy.

Allianz NFL Division 1:
Donegal 2-10 Mayo 1-13


The 2007 Division One champions got off to a flyer as Murphy found the net in the opening minutes after getting the better of Liam O’Malley in the Mayo defence.

Soon after he had his second after he collected a piercing ball from David Walsh and rammed home for another green flag, Donegal fans already forgetting their opening day defeat to Kerry 13 days earlier.

Talisman Conor Mortimer, back in the Mayo side, was keeping his side in touch and they almost had a goal of their own, only for a crucial save from Michael Boyle to deny a rasping effort from Barry Moran. But their goalkeeper’s actions seemed to lift Donegal’s outfield men, who – led by Stephen Griffin – tagged on several points for a healthy nine-point lead of 2-8 to 0-5 at the interval.

Billy Joe Padden threw over a quick point for a much-changed Westerners after the break but they then looked dead and buried as Murphy looked to have completed his hat-trick. However, the goal was chalked off as the player appeared to be in the square and Mayo were given a lift.

Mortimer fired over a point and Moran then got revenge on Boyle for his earlier save when collecting a ball that came all the way through to him and firing it past the home goalkeeper to give John O’Mahony’s men renewed hope.

Mortimer, Ronan McGarrity and the other Mortimer – Trevor – all hit points to leave just one between the teams and then Ciaran Conroy struck an injury-time leveller. The point apiece garnered is the first earned by either side this term.

Allianz NFL Division 2:
Monaghan 2-17 Wexford 1-12

Monaghan top Division Two tonight after a resounding win in Clones over Wexford, triumphing 2-17 to 1-12.

Monaghan always had the measure of Wexford despite the best efforts of Mattie Forde who finished with a personal tally of 1-6 for Jason Ryan’s men.

Indeed Forde set Wexford well on their way in the sixth minute when he netted after a fine assist from PJ Banville. That score put Wexford in control, leading by 1-2 to 0-1.

Monaghan soon woke up though and went in 0-12 to 1-5 up at half-time. The Farney men then netted two goals in quick succession through Paul McGuigan and Tomas Freeman, and it was easy from there on in.

Allianz NFL Division 2:
Armagh 2-8 Laois 2-11


Laois pulled off a fine victory over Armagh at The Athletic Grounds on Saturday to earn their first league points of the season.

A win would have seen the Orchard men go clear at the top of the division but it was the Leinster side who took the two points.

It was Peter McDonnell’s men who lead at the break on a score of 1-6 to 1-5, Finnian Moriarty getting their goal before Peter O’Leary hit back for Laois.

Donie Brennan then netted for Laois after the break as they went 2-6 to 1-6 clear but a goal from master forward Ronan Clarke saw the sides level once again.

In the end, and perhaps surprisingly, it was Sean Dempsey’s side who stretched away in the closing stages, highlighting the possibility of a competitive Division Two once again this season.

Allianz NFL Division 2:
Meath 0-12 Fermanagh 2-7


Meath’s promotion campaign is looking to be in ruins after they followed up their opening weekend defeat to Cork with a home reverse to Fermanagh at Pairc Tailteann.

Two goals late in the first half, from James Sherry and Daniel Killie did the damage as promoted Fermanagh picked up their first points.

The first half had been rather even, though Cian Ward’s shooting will probably be remembered given that his side lost as he hit three scoreable well wide.

With the sides at 0-4 apiece, the Royals defence took a breather as Sherry ran through them to fire his side ahead with a goal and within minutes they were two three-pointers clear after home goalkeeper David Gallagher conceded a penalty and Killie punished him.

Led by Nigel Crawford, Meath battled back after the break and scores from Crawford, Ward, and Stephen Bray cut the gap to just a point, but the Ulstermen held on.

Allianz NFL Division 3:
Cavan 0-11 Tipperary 0-13

John Evans’ side began brightly and dominated Tommy Carr’s lacklustre Cavan early on, and they led 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time.

Carr was up against the county of his origin and the result leaves Cavan with two defeats from their first two matches.

Tipperary’s Barry Grogan proved crucial to the win, pointing seven points, mostly from frees. The Aherlow man hardly missed from within 45 metres and he consistently punished Cavan fouling.

Gerard Pierson top-scored for Cavan with five points, four points coming from play but the result was never really in doubt and there was an element of comfort as Tipperary eased to the final whistle.

Despite the facile nature of the win, Tipperary had four men yellow-carded while Cavan’s Dermot Sheridan was also forced to be substituted after a booking.

Allianz NFL Division 3:
Down 1-13 Louth 1-12

Brian White contributed six points for the Wee County, but it was a rash of late wides from the midfielder that cost his side dearly in the end.

Louth went into the game unbeaten, and probably deserved something from the derby clash in front of a crowd of 4,500 at Newry and with White pulling the strings in midfield, they performed with confidence in the opening quarter, easing ahead with scores from Shane Lennon, White and Paraic Smith.

But John Fegan, Aidan Carr and Brendan McArdle kept the home side in touch, and the sides were level on four occasions in the opening 20 minutes.

Carr, with two frees, and Daniel Hughes rattled off the final three scores to send the Mourne men in with a 0-9 to 0-5 advantage.

But both sides could have had goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Benny Coulter had a fisted goal disallowed for a square ball infringement, while Smith brought a superb save from Down goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh.

Louth made an inspired start to the second half, and went in front with a Smith goal in the 45th minute. White continued to strike accurately from frees, with Coulter hitting a couple of gems in response.

And Down struck a crucial blow seven minutes from the end when Hughes picked up Coulter’s flick to blast in a goal, though they still needed goalkeeper McVeigh’s heroics with that superb penalty save from Lennon.

Allianz NFL Division 4:
Antrim 1-14 Clare 1-07

Antrim have moved to the top of Allianz NFL Division Four after a 1-14 to 1-07 win over Clare at Casement Park.

Clare’s Stephen Maloney netted a goal after just 50 seconds to quieten the home crowd.

However, the inspirational Paddy Cunningham scored a goal for Antrim on five minutes and the Ulster side went into the half-time break 1-7 to 1-3 in the lead.

The Saffrons extended their lead in the second half with forward Cunningham personally recording a score of 1-8.