Monday 19 March 2018

Mattie Donnelly the Tyrone hero as Mickey Harte's men pick up first League points

Kildare 0-18 Tyrone 1-16

Tommy Moolick of Kildare in action against Padraig McNulty, left, and Ciarán McLaughlin of Tyrone
Tommy Moolick of Kildare in action against Padraig McNulty, left, and Ciarán McLaughlin of Tyrone

Michael Verney

Mattie Donnelly was the hero of the hour for Tyrone kicking a sensational injury-time to help the Red Hand secure their first win of this year's Division 1 campaign in a thrilling win over Kildare in Newbridge.

Mickey Harte's men will breathe a huge sigh of relief, however, as the home side missed two late frees and Lilies boss Cian O'Neill will rue those costly wides as they still await their first points since promotion to the top tier.

Kildare dominated the early proceedings racing into a four-point lead through two monster points from Fergal Conway, a spectacular long-range effort from Ben McCormack and a Kevin Feely free.

The Red Hand were slow to settle but Niall Sludden and Lee Brennan looked lively in attack kicking a point apiece while Tiernan McCann surged forward to score off his left as they trailed 0-5 to 0-3 midway through the half.

Feely was giving the Lilies a foothold at midfield as he got on top of his duel with Tyrone skipper Mattie Donnelly and they stretched the lead out to four points as he kicked a  free while goalkeeper Mark Donnellan ('45) and Paul Cribbin were all on target.

Sludden replied with a point before a dangerous delivery from Cathal McShane was knocked down to by McAliskey to Brennan and the Trillick forward made no mistake firing low past Donnellan to tie affairs, 1-5 to 0-8.

McAliskey was unlucky not to hit the net himself when a short kick-out by Donnellan was intercepted and his lobbed effort went over the bar as Harte's side finished the stronger to lead by one at the break, 1-8 to 0-10.

It was nip and tuck on the resumption with little to separate the sides and it came down to a sensational closing 10 minutes where Feely and Donnellan were both off target from placed balls before Donnelly fired over a magnificent winner off his left to take the points.

TYRONE – N Morgan; HP McGeary, P Hampsey, C McCarron; T McCann, R Brennan, C McLaughlin; M Donnelly, P McNulty; C Meuler, N Sludden, P Harte; L Brennan, C McShane.

Subs: C McCann for McNulty (7 blood), McNuly for C McCann (10), M McKernan for McLaughlin (39), D McCurry for R Brennan (43), R McNamee for McNulty (54), C McCann for L Brennan (59), M Bradley for McAliskey (61), K McGeary for McCann (77),

KILDARE  – M Donnellan; M O’Grady, D Hyland, J Byrne; P Kelly, E Doyle, C O’Donoghue; K Feely, T Moolick; N Kelly, P Cribbin, F Conway; B McCormack, D Flynn, P Brophy.

Subs: J Hyland for McCormack (half-time), L Flynn for Moolick (48), C Healy for Kelly (55), K Cribbin for Conway (61), C McNally for Brophy (65)

REF – P Neilan (Roscommon)

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