Vintage Mulligan gets Tyrone off to flyer
Tyrone 2-11 Kildare 0-12
Tyrone's promotion push is up and running following last night's second-half surge at Croke Park.
The Red Hands only sprang to life after the break, and goals from Martin Penrose and Peter Harte dashed Kieran McGeeney's bid to post a positive opening to his side's NFL challenge.
Owen Mulligan tormented the Lilywhite defence with a vintage display of creativity and finishing, while skipper Stephen O'Neill weighed in with five classy points.
O'Neill's superb early score should have given a Tyrone a solid platform, but they struggled to build on that, and it was Kildare who grew in confidence following a shaky opening to take the lead.
The introduction of Johnny Doyle provided a further boost to Kildare and they stretched the lead through Conway and Padraig O'Neill, who could have had a goal when sent through by Tomas O'Connor.
Mulligan scored Tyrone's only point of the second quarter from a free, and Mikey Conway's third point, also from a free, send Kildare in with a 0-6 to 0-3 interval lead.
But Tyrone were back in front by the 41st minute when Peter Harte timed his cross superbly for Penrose to palm to the net past Shane Connolly.
Teenager Ronan O'Neill marked his arrival in the action with a point, but Kildare twice levelled, with Eoghan O'Flaherty equalising from a '45' after Aidan Cassidy had blocked Conway's goal-bound effort.
Tyrone struck for a crucial second goal, almost identical to their first, in the 56th minute, with Mulligan providing the cross which Harte guided to the net with a stretching fist.
And there was an unexpected boost for Tyrone with a late appearance from Sean Cavanagh, who had been expected to miss the first half of the league through injury.
Kildare twice broke through in their hunt for a late goal, but Tommy O'Neill and Eamonn Callaghan shot wide.
Scorers -- Tyrone: Stephen O'Neill 0-5 (2f), M Penrose, P Harte 1-0 each, O Mulligan 0-3 (1f), D McCaul, R O'Neill, Mark Donnelly 0-1 each; Kildare: M Conway 0-6 (4f), P O'Neill, E O'Flaherty (1f, 1 '45) 0-2 each, J Doyle, P Kelly 0-1 each
Tyrone: P McConnell; A McCrory, C Clarke, PJ Quinn; C McCarron, P Harte, Sean O'Neill; M Murphy, A Cassidy; Mattie Donnelly, P Hughes, M Penrose; O Mulligan, Mark Donnelly, Stephen O'Neill. Subs: D McCaul for Quinn, R O'Neill for Hughes, N McKenna for Cassidy, R McMenamin for Mattie Donnelly
Kildare: S Connolly; P Kelly, C Fitzpatrick, O Lyons; B Flanagan, T O'Neill, E O'Flaherty; D Flynn, R Sweeney; T Moolick, M Conway, P O'Neill; J Kavanagh, T O'Connor, A Smith. Subs: J Doyle for Moolick, H McGrillen for Flanagan, E Callaghan for Smith, M O'Flaherty for Fitzpatrick, R Kelly for Flynn
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo)
Sunday Indo Sport