Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Tyrone March On

August 3rd, 2009

tyrone-kildare-aifqf2009.jpgAll-Ireland Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final:
Tyrone 0-16  Kildare 1-11

Tyrone produced a brilliant second half performance to beat Kildare by 0-16 to 1-11 in a thrilling GAA All Ireland Senior Football Quarter-final at Croke Park on Sunday.

The Lilywhites led by 1-7 to 0-6 at the break after outplaying the All Ireland champions in the first half, but Tyrone hit five points in a row after the break to wrestle control of the game back from Kieran McGeeney’s side.

Kildare led by 1-2 to 0-2 inside the first 14 minutes after Ronan Sweeney’s superb goal. Tyrone were in real trouble from the start as Kildare played with a real hunger and terrific pace that seemed to catch the Red Hand off guard.

However, Tyrone’s marquee names came to the fore in the second half, with Owen Mulligan scoring three vital points from play and Stephen O’Neill finishing with seven points after a wonderful performance.

After struggling to come to terms with the inspirational Dermot Earley early on, Sean Cavanagh also came to the fore, while Brian Dooher delivered another typically dogged display when the game reached its climax in the last ten minutes.

However, Kildare will rue some poor shooting in the closing stages as they had the chances to at least take the match to extra time. Fittingly, it was Tyrone full-back Justin McMahon who kicked the insurance point in the 65th minute. Manager Mickey Harte admitted afterwards that his side’s vast experience had helped them over the line against a Kildare team who are relative newcomers to this level of football.

Kildare dominated the opening exchanges while Tyrone took some time find the pace of the game. McGeeney’s men were first to every ball in the opening ten minutes and it was hardly surprising when they went into an early two-point lead.

Their captain, John Doyle, had the Lilywhites ahead from a placed ball after three minutes and he added another from play soon after. Tyrone looked to be in disarray but Dooher lifted their spirits with a brilliant point from play to get them off the mark. O’Neill then levelled the game after Mulligan had found him with a clever pass in the corner.

However, Tyrone’s revival was short lived as Kildare rocked the All Ireland champions with a superb goal after 14 minutes. Andrew McLoughlin, who had just come on as a substitute for Emmet Bolton, started the move with a long pass from inside his own half which was caught by James Kavanagh. The Kildare wing-forward was through on goal, but he unselfishly offloaded to Sweeney, who fired past Pascal McConnell.

Tyrone hit back with points from Davy Harte and another O’Neill free. But the Red Hand were finding the intense pace Kildare were setting impossible to live with. Kildare underlined their superiority when they scored four points without reply in a five-minute spell. Kavanagh’s 26th-minute effort was a real beauty from under the Cusack Stand while Alan Smith’s point four minutes later was its equal.

Tyrone responded with the next two points to reel Kildare back to within three points, the second a spectacular shot by O’Neill from a tight angle. But Kildare had the final say of the half and extended their lead to four at the break when Doyle landed a magnificent sideline kick.

Tyrone hared out of the blocks after the break to kick five points without reply. Mulligan was starting to dominate Gary White and he managed three points inside six minutes, while O’Neill chipped in with two fees to give them the lead – 0-11 to 1-7 – for the first time in the 44th minute. Martin Penrose then added another and Tyrone led by two.

Great credit must go to Kildare though as they hit back with the next three points, Doyle landing two frees and another from play which gave them back the lead going into the final 15 minutes.

Dooher then levelled the game after Cavanagh had won a clean kick out, while O’Neill landed his fourth from play as Tyrone edged ahead going into the final ten minutes. Again, Kildare hit back with a point from Michael Foley.

Almost inevitably, Tyrone upped their game in the final minutes and while Kildare kicked a number of wides, O’Neill and Justin McMahon kicked the final points of the game to secure their safe passage to an All Ireland Semi-final showdown with Cork.

Kildare: T Corley; H McGrillen, M Foley, E Bolton; M O’Flaherty, B Flanagan, G White; D Flynn, D Earley; J Kavanagh, P O’Neill, R Sweeney; A Smith, K Donnelly, J Doyle.

Tyrone: P McConnell; PJ Quinn, J McMahon, R McMenamin; D Hate, C Gormley, P Jordan; K Hughes, S Cavanagh; B Dooher, T McGuigan, J McMahon; M Penrose, S O’Neill, O Mulligan.

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