Sunday 18 February 2018

Coney gets Harte's Red Hands off to flying start

Tyrone 0-26
St Mary's 0-10

Mickey Harte unwrapped some exciting new talent at Healy Park as Tyrone got off to a flier yesterday.

The students of St Mary's were completely outplayed and outclassed by a fired-up Red Hand outfit that performed with flair and desire.

Kyle Coney, who last year turned his back on an AFL career with Sydney Swans, laid on a man-of-the-match display at wing-forward, hitting five classy points from play.

Coney struck up a telepathic partnership with his Ardboe club-mate Brian McGuigan, the pair delighting the crowd of 3,000 with their range of passing. And McGuigan, famed for his creative brilliance, demonstrated that he can finish as well, hitting four points from open play.

St Mary's, with no less than eight Tyrone men in their starting line-up, were on the back foot for most of the first half, and the foraging of Kevin Mossey and Martin Murray produced little end product, although CJ McGourty did manage to shake himself free of Martin Swift for a point to add to his early converted free.

The final 15 minutes of the half saw Tyrone shine up front, Stephen O'Neill and Eoin McCusker with three points apiece. Niall McKenna also swept through the students' defence for a well-taken score, with Mark Donnelly adding his name to the scoresheet as Tyrone went in at the break with a commanding 0-14 to 0-2 advantage.

St Mary's did enjoy a brief revival early in the second half, with substitute Brian Doyle slotting a handful of neat points, but the Red Hands soon regained control. Substitutes Kevin Hughes and Tommy McGuigan, along with defenders Sean O'Neill and Swift, added to the scoring blitz. The new playing rules made little impact, and prompted Harte to once again vent his displeasure at the introduction of the 'mark'.

"I don't see the need for the 'mark'. It wasn't very prevalent in today's game anyway, and the few times there was a 'mark' given, it wasn't necessary, because the player wasn't under pressure at all," he said. "One of the other rules that we were supposed to see was that the game was finished with the ball going dead, and in neither half did that take place."

SCORERS -- Tyrone: K Coney, Stephen O'Neill (3f) 0-5 each, B McGuigan 0-4, E McCusker 0-3, M Murphy 0-2, R McNabb, M Swift, Sean O'Neill, N McKenna, M Donnelly, K Hughes, T McGuigan 0-1 each. St Mary's: B Doyle 0-4, CJ McGourty 0-3 (1f), K Niblock 0-2 (1f). M Pollock 0-1.

Tyrone -- J Curran; R McNabb, M McKeown, M Swift; D Carlin, J McMahon, S O'Neill; A Cassidy, M Murphy; N McKenna, B McGuigan, K Coney; E McCusker, S O'Neill, M Donnelly.

Subs: C McElholm for McKeown, K Hughes for Cassidy, M Penrose for McKenna, T McGuigan for Coney, E McGinley for Murphy.

St Mary's -- T Harney; M Slane, K O'Boyle, M Digney; R Dolan, B Canavan, B Og Maguire; M McKenna, G Johnston; C Campbell, K Niblock, K Mossey, C McGourty, J Kelly, M Murray.

Subs: B Doyle for Johnston, M Pollock for Campbell, P Carville for Mossey.

Ref -- B Cassidy (Derry)

Irish Independent

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