Friday 24 November 2017

Dooher comes off bench to spark Red Hand revival

Tyrone 0-14

Down 0-10

It wasn't vintage Tyrone, but at times Mickey Harte's men looked like a side on a mission which could last well into the summer.

After a shaky start at Casement Park, the Red Hands collected themselves well, but James McCartan will take his side into the qualifiers with the knowledge that he has made genuine progress.

Tyrone go into the provincial decider against either Monaghan or Fermanagh as clear favourites.

Down profited early from the midfield graft of Ambrose Rodgers and Kalum King.

Three converted frees from Mark Poland and Martin Clarke (2) had them ahead by 0-6 to 0-2 by the 12th minute, and Tyrone suffered a blow when Stephen O'Neill went off injured.

His replacement, Brian Dooher, made a massive contribution to the Red Hand revival. Dooher swept over two points and Martin Penrose converted a free, but Tyrone still trailed by 0-8 to 0-4 on 20 minutes.

Tyrone hit the final six points of the half, with Joe McMahon and Cavanagh both scoring magnificent efforts from distance. Tyrone led by 0-10 to 0-8 after Poland had missed an easy free.

Down had the wind at their backs in the second half, but felt the need to switch Benny Coulter to centre forward, with Gordon often single-handedly occupying the inside line. He did break free of Joe McMahon, but with no support, was forced to shoot from a tight angle, and goalkeeper Pascal McConnell saved well.

Meanwhile, Tyrone were proving increasingly adept at defending in numbers and breaking at pace, and stretched their advantage through Colm Cavanagh and Owen Mulligan.

Down had their moments of madness in front of goal, with Dan Gordon and Rodgers both blazing wildly wide. As the game became sloppy, almost 20 minutes elapsed without a score, before Sean Cavanagh created the opening for Penrose to point.

Clarke did likewise at the other end, and carved the opening for Danny Hughes to get in for a glorious goal chance. His shot was superbly saved by McConnell, but Paul McComiskey had perhaps a better opportunity from the rebound, but skewed his shot badly wide.

Scorers -- Tyrone: M Penrose 0-5 (3f), S Cavanagh 0-3 (2f), B Dooher 0-2, C Cavanagh, Joe McMahon, O Mulligan, D Carlin 0-1 each. Down: M Clarke 0-3 (2f), M Poland (1f), A Rodgers 0-2 each, D Hughes, D Gordon, P McComiskey (f) 0-1 each.

Tyrone: P McConnell; M Swift, Justin McMahon, D Carlin; P Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan; C Cavanagh, K Hughes; B Dooher, S Cavanagh, Joe McMahon; M Penrose, S O'Neill, O Mulligan. Subs: B McGuigan for O'Neill (11), Sean O'Neill for Swift (41), T McGuigan for Harte (63), R Mellon for Dooher (68), C McCullagh for Mulligan (70)

Down: B McVeigh; D Rooney, B McArdle, D Rafferty; K McKernan, J Colgan, C Garvey; A Rogers, K King; D Hughes, M Poland, B Coulter; C Maginn, D Gordon, M Clarke. Subs: P McComiskey for Poland (h-t), D O'Hagan for Garvey (56), P Fitzpatrick for King (60)

Referee: G O Conamha (Galway)

Sunday Independent

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