Mattie finishes help put Red Hand out of reach in Laois
Tyrone 1-14 Laois 0-14
Published 29/02/2016 | 02:30
Table-toppers Tyrone made it three wins on the bounche in Division 2 as they held off a late Laois comeback to win by a goal at O'Moore Park yesterday.
Mickey Harte's side were heavily favoured coming into the game, but found Laois to be dogged opposition throughout, and they scraped home in the end.
The visitors had started brightly, with Mark Bradley making space for himself 35 yards out and firing over the opening score in the second minute. They doubled their lead soon after, Darren McCurry getting the score on this occasion, as Laois took their time to settle.
Paul Cahillane finally got them on the scoreboard in the seventh minute with a free, after Donie Kingston was fouled, and Gary Walsh drew them level soon after. That set the tone for most of the half, as there was never more than one score between the sides.
Tyrone edged themselves back in front thanks to Barry Tierney, but a fluffled kickout from Michael O'Neill eventually lead to Laois winning a 45, which Gary Walsh pointed.
This was to be the most productive spell of the game for Laois, as they went ahead for the first time thanks to John O'Loughlin, and Kieran Lillis then pushed them two clear. A Darren McCurry free halted their momentum, but O'Loughlin pointed once again, as Laois were deservedly in the lead.
The rest of the half belonged to Tyrone, on the scoreboard at least, as they hit four points in a row to re-take the lead. Ronan O' Neill (2), Tiernan McCann and Niall Sludden provided the scores, and Mickey Harte's side led 0-8 to 0-6 heading to the dressing rooms.
Whatever words of wisdom were imparted to the Tyrone players at half-time they certainly worked, as they were brilliant when play resumed. Ronan O'Neill pointed a free before a lovely move ended with Tiernan McCann pointing from close range.
Mattie Donnelly took centre stage after that with two brilliant individual scores as Tyrone made it eight points without reply.
John O'Loughlin finally broke that run for Laois, but Niall Sludden and Donnelly again found the target to keep Tyrone on the front foot.
The game's crucial score arrived after that, as a brilliant run through the heart of the home defence from McCann saw him lay the ball off to sub Padraig McNulty, and he fired expertly home with his first touch of the game.
The visitors should have been comfortable from there, but Laois managed to get within three late on and pushed hard for an equaliser.
Scorers - Tyrone: M Donnelly, R O'Neill (2f) 0-3 each; P McNulty 1-0; N Sludden, T McCann, D McCurry (1f) 0-2 each; B Tierney, M Bradley 0-1 each. Laois: D Kingston 0-5 (3f); J O'Loughlin 0-3; G Walsh 0-2 (45); K Lillis, P Cahillane (f), R O'Connor, P Kingston 0-1 each.
LAOIS - G Brody 7; R Kehoe 7, C Begley 7, P Cotter 6; D Strong 6, D Seale 6, G Dillon 6; J O'Loughlin 7, B Quigley 7; N Donoher 6, K Lillis 7, C Meredith 6; P Cahillane 6, D Kingston 7, G Walsh 6. Subs: D O'Connor 6 for Cotter (38), R O'Connor 6 for Walsh (46), E Costello 5 for Meredith (52), D O'Reilly 6 for Dillon (56), P Kingston 6 for Cahillane (59), A Farrell for Strong (61).
TYRONE - M O'Neill 6; A McCrory 7, C McCarron 7, HP McGeary 7; T McCann 7, J McMahon 6, B Tierney 6; C Cavanagh 7, M Donnelly 8; N Sludden 6, M Bradley 6, C Meyler 6; D McCurry 6, S Cavanagh 6, R O'Neill 6. Subs: J Monroe 6 for Tierney (45), R Donnelly 6 for Meyler (49), P Harte 6 for Bradley (49), P McNulty 7 for C Cavanagh (56), L Brennan 6 for McCurry (58), P Hampsey for McMahon (59).
Ref - P O'Sullivan (Kerry).