Tuesday 23 May 2017

McGuigan returns to inspire Tyrone

Tyrone 0-15 Mayo 0-13

McGuigan: fine display
McGuigan: fine display

Tyrone's brilliant playmaker Brian McGuigan made his first start in more than two and a half years at Omagh yesterday, and it was as if he had never been away.

A vintage display by the Ardboe man helped the Red Hands to a two points win over Mayo, a result which confirmed Mickey Harte's survival as a Division One force.

There was no hint of championship intensity, but McGuigan's class nevertheless shone at Healy Park, while young brother Tommy was the top scorer with six points.

Conor Mortimer and Colm McCullagh exchanged free kicks in a low-key opening 20 minutes, during which the sides were level on four occasions.

Brian McGuigan gave several glimpses of the brilliant playmaker that he has been for Tyrone, and with Sean Cavanagh operating at full forward, there was a focus and a new dimension to Tyrone's attacking efforts.

Cavanagh hit an early point, thanks to McGuigan's vision, and there were superb efforts from the pair's younger siblings, with Tommy McGuigan and Colm Cavanagh both finding the target.

Mayo struggled to translate effective approach play into scores throughout, although Austin O'Malley and Tom Parsons did thump over excellent points.

Tyrone began to get a grip on the game in the second quarter, easing three points clear, but Mayo missed a chance to go level on the stroke of half-time when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Mortimer, but Andy Moran saw his kick superbly saved at the post by Pascal McConnell.

The Red Hands led by 0-8 to 0-5 at the interval, and Mayo 'keeper David Clarke also justified his selection with saves from Sean Cavanagh and Tomy McGuigan, but Tyrone continued to build with Sean Cavanagh and Enda McGinley making it double scores at 0-10 to 0-5 early in the second half.

Wing backs Davy Harte and Philip Jordan were always available to augment the attacking thrusts, and another wonderful effort from Tommy McGuigan saw the home side go six points clear.

However, Mayo finally displayed some grit, and a burst of scores from Mortimer, Austin O'Malley and substitute Mark Ronaldson narrowed the gap to two points.

The westerners pushed for the goal that would have given them a win they scarcely deserved, but the younger McGuigan, with his sixth point of the afternoon, sealed a welcome win for Tyrone.

Scorers -- Tyrone: T McGuigan 0-6 (2f), S Cavanagh, C McCullagh (3f) 0-3 each, E McGinley, D Harte, C Cavanagh 0-1 each. Mayo: C Mortimer 0-6 (3f), A O'Malley 0-4 (1f), T Parsons 0-2, M Ronaldson 0-1.

Tyrone -- P McConnell; R McMenamin, D McCaul, M McGee; D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan; C Holmes, E McGinley; C Cavanagh, B McGuigan, R Mulgrew; C McCullagh, S Cavanagh, T McGuigan. Subs: M Swift for McGee, M Penrose for McCullagh.

Mayo -- D Clarke; T Cunniffe, K Conroy, C Boyle; D Heaney, T Howley, K Higgins; R McGarrity, T Parsons; J Gill, A Dillon, A Campbell; C Mortimer, A O'Malley, A Moran. Subs: P Kelly for Cunniffe, M Mullins for Dillon, D Higgins for Heaney, M Ronaldson for Gill.

Ref -- M Deegan (Laois).


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