Monday 19 February 2018

Harte thrilled by class of 'revelation' McCurry

Tyrone 1-16 Roscommon 0-8
SFC round 2 qualifier

Half an hour in and it looked like Roscommon were gearing up to take another major Ulster scalp, but then Tyrone showed all their experience of taking the scenic route and wrapped up the game either side of half-time.

Roscommon were playing into the breeze and had come back to level the sides at 0-4 each when Donie Shine, off form with placed balls up to then, opted to go short to Cathal Cregg with another free but it was blasted wide from in front of the posts.

Tyrone, forced to start without captain Stephen O'Neill who was bothered by a calf injury, responded and Owen Mulligan used all his experience and skill to land a superb point from the left wing.

He followed with a free and Jonathan Lafferty got another before the break for a 0-7 to 0-4 lead. Three minutes after the restart Peter Harte scored a penalty and it was game over.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was pleased with the way his side turned it around, but there was concern until Mulligan took over before the break.

Upper hand

"Roscommon had the upper hand, they were the better team in the first half for probably about 30 minutes. They were giving as good as they got and probably even better than they got," he said.

"Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, we took a grip of the game in that four or five minutes before half-time. Not only did we take a grip of it but we made it count on the scoreboard as well. So to go in 0-7 to 0-4 up, we were somewhat flattered because we knew the effort and energy Roscommon had put in and probably deserved better from the first half."

Roscommon manager Des Newton was disappointed with the outcome, especially as it seemed they were going to back up their surprise win over Armagh by putting Tyrone to the test.

They hunted in packs superbly in the first half and showed good ability to work the ball up the field with short passes. But they did not have enough punch up front, especially with Shine's radar surprisingly off target.

Joe McMahon did well to lead Tyrone and Mulligan's guile was invaluable as Tyrone punished Roscommon's lethargy in front of goal. But it was the performance of sub Darren McCurry that lit up this game as he kicked four magnificent points on his senior inter-county debut.

"He's only out of minor, and he has been a revelation since he came into our squad. He came in for an in-house game about a month or five weeks ago and he was that good we said, 'you better stay here young man'," said Harte.

Notions of a Roscommon revival were buried three minutes after the restart when Mark Donnelly was bundled over and Peter Harte made no mistake with the penalty. "That was the turning point," said Newton. "There was no coming back after the penalty, although I was pleased with the way we competed."

Mulligan tacked on a brace of points after the goal before McCurry entered the show and entertained the crowd of 6,774 with a display of point scoring with both feet which invariably drew suggestions that the new Peter Canavan may have been discovered.

Harte (pictured left) will be the first to point out that there will be tougher environments than this for McCurry to show what he can do, but there was no doubting this was an impressive debut.

Scorers -- Tyrone: O Mulligan 0-5 (2f), D McCurry 0-4, P Harte 1-0 (pen), J McMahon (1f), M Penrose (1f) 0-2 each, J Lafferty, S O'Neill, N McKenna 0-1 each. Roscommon: C Cregg 0-4, D Shine 0-2 (1f), S Kilbride, G Heneghan 0-1 each.

Tyrone -- P McConnell 8; A McCrory 7, C Gormley 7, D Carlin 7; S O'Neill 7, C Clarke 7, C McCarron 6; J McMahon 8, C Cavanagh 7; P Harte 8, Mark Donnelly 6, Mattie Donnelly 6; M Penrose 6, J Lafferty 7, O Mulligan 8. Subs: R McMenamin 6 for McCarron (41); D McCurry 8 for Lafferty (43); B McGuigan 6 for Mark Donnelly (56); A Cassidy 6 for Cavanagh (58); N McKenna 7 for Penrose (62).

Roscommon -- G Claffey 6; S Purcell 6, N Carty 6, S McDermott 7; N Collins 6, P Domican 7, I Kilbride 7; C Shine 6, K Mannion 6; N Kilroy 6, C Cregg 8, N Daly 6; S Kilbride 6, C Compton 6, D Shine 6. Subs: G Heneghan 6 for Kilroy (h-t); D Ward 6 for Collins (51); M Finneran 6 for Compton (51); D McDermott 6 for N Daly (59); D Smith 6 for Mannion (67).

Ref -- R Hickey (Clare)

Irish Independent

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