Ulster Senior Football Championship Preliminary Round:
Tyrone 2-11 Down 3-8
Seán Cavanagh converted two injury-time frees to salvage a draw for Tyrone after a dramatic opening Ulster Championship tie in Healy Park, Omagh.
The game looked over when Darren McCurry drilled home a goal after 54 minutes to put Tyrone 2-9 to 1-5 ahead, but Down scored an unanswered 2-3 in an incredible eight-minute spell to go in front for the first time in the game with nine minutes remaining.
Donal O’Hare missed a simple free in the 69th minute which would have given Down a three-point advantage, and Cavanagh made him pay with two late frees.
The Tyrone captain ended a 17 minute scoring drought for the home side with a free in the 71st minute, and when he was fouled by Darren Rooney in the fourth and last minute of injury time, Cavanagh converted a 35m free to snatch a draw for the Red Hand County.
The replay has been provisionally fixed for Saturday night, May 24, in Páirc Esler, Newry at 7pm.
Tyrone led by 1-5 to 0-3 after a poor first half.
Seán Cavanagh’s point in the fifth minute was scored from play in a dour and tense first 25 minutes but Ambrose Rogers and Kyle Coney added late scores from play to leave five points between them at half-time.
Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan was black carded in the 40th minute for pulling down Jerome Johnston and Aidan Carr converted past replacement ‘keeper Mickey O’Neill, to reduce the deficit to two points.
However in a much more open second half, Kyle Coney, Seán Cavanagh and Darren McCurry stretched Tyrone’s lead before McCurry struck their second goal, after good work by substitute Stephen O’Neill.
Within a minute, Donal O’Hare squeezed the ball in at the near post to ignite Down’s fightback.
Half-time replacements Benny Coulter and Ryan Johnston were hugely influential as Down stormed forward in waves, Maginn burying a great finish to the net after 58 minutes.
Conor Laverty brought the sides level on 59 minutes and further scores from Mark Poland and Coulter put Down two points up with eight minutes remaining.
O’Hare’s missed free proved crucial and Conor Maginn’s foul on Cavanagh saw him black carded in injury time, with the Tyrone captain stepping up to ensure his team remain in the Ulster championship for another six days at least.
Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry 1-2 (0-2f), S Cavanagh 0-5 (0-3f), K Coney 0-3, P Harte (1-0, pen), N Morgan 0-1 (f).
Scorers for Down: D O’Hare 1-2 (2f), C Maginn 1-0, A Carr 1-0 (pen), C Garvey, M Poland, C Laverty, A Rogers, N Madine, B Coulter 0-1 each
Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, D McBride, B Tierney; T McCann, Mattie Donnelly, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C Clarke; Mark Donnelly, S Cavanagh, C McGinley; D McCurry, N McKenna, K Coney. Subs: M O’Neill for Morgan (BC, 24), R McKenna for McCann (28), S O’Neill for N McKenna (53), Justin McMahon for McBride (62), C Gormley for Tierney (62), M Penrose for McGinley (67)
Down: B McVeigh; D McCartan, B McArdle, R Boyle; D Rooney, A Carr, C Garvey; P Turley, A Rogers; C Maginn, M Poland, K McKernan; D O’Hare, N Madine, C Laverty. Subs: R Johnston for Boyle (HT), B Coulter for Turley (HT), B Coulter for Rogers (HT), L Doyle for J Johnston (51), D Turley for Garvey (56), P Devlin for Maginn (BC, 70).
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)