Red Hands swat Carlow aside to end summer of romance
Tyrone 3-14 Carlow 1-10
Tyrone crushed the Carlow rising with a controlled demolition job at Netwatch Dr Cullen Park. The Red Hands had too much experience and firepower for the Leinster men as they powered into the third round of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.
Goals from Niall Sludden, Richie Donnelly and Peter Harte and a five-point haul from the in-form Connor McAliskey settled it long before the finish.
There was no mercy as the reigning Ulster champions brought the Barrowsiders' summer of romance to an end, and carried Mickey Harte's men a step closer to the Super 8s.
Paul Broderick thumped over a 50-metre free to give Carlow an early boost, and as they packed the defence and patiently held possession in a bid to frustrate the visitors, the game took on a predictable shape, with the Red Hands pushing for turnovers and breakaway raids.
It was from one of these that Richie Donnelly levelled in the seventh minute, but openings were few and far between as both sides swarmed in numbers in their own halves.
Shane Redmond made a couple of important interventions, but allowed Conor Meyler to slip in, collect Donnelly's delivery and split the posts. The Ulster men led for the first time, but that advantage lasted less than a minute, as Carlow set Dr Cullen Park alight with a stunning goal.
The ball was worked down the left, and it was Broderick who sent Darragh O'Brien in for a confident finish past Niall Morgan.
O'Brien's clever movement as playmaker came close to unlocking the visitors' defence again, but Mickey Harte's men survived a spell of pressure to rally for Connor McAliskey and Mattie Donnelly to claim scores.
Carlow persisted with the strategy or working the ball through the hands, but they were increasingly susceptible to turnovers, and with Tyrone starting to win breaking ball around the middle, they were a growing threat in front of the posts.
The drives of Carlow midfielder Sean Murphy through the middle were beginning to wane in pace and frequency, and there were signs that a demanding approach was beginning to sap the energy of the Carlow players in the baking heat.
Tyrone went ahead again through McAliskey on the half-hour, with Carlow failing to add to that 16th-minute goal, and the Red Hands hit five on the spin to go in at the break with a 0-8 to 1-2 lead.
Tyrone stretched a tiring Carlow side along the flanks, increasing the advantage to four through McAliskey, and while Broderick drilled a massive 62-metre free between the posts in spectacular fashion, they were soon under the cosh again.
A stunning team score saw Mattie Donnelly, Cathal McShane and Colm Cavanagh combine for Harte to put his name on the scoresheet, and now they were pushing forward in droves, hunting in packs and really hurting their opponents.
There was a certain inevitability about Tyrone's 48th-minute goal, with Harte crossing for the inrushing Niall Sludden to punch past Robbie Molloy, and now nine points separated the sides.
Tyrone had more options than before, and seemed adept at choosing the right one, with Sludden adding a delightful solo score, ignoring players left and right as he confidently took on the responsibility.
Broderick and Darragh Foley pulled back a couple of points, but when Mattie Donnelly was hauled down, Harte smashed home a penalty with four minutes to play.
And there was worse to come for the home side as substitute Conall McCann sent Richie Donnelly in to smash home a third Tyrone goal deep into stoppage time.
Scorers - Tyrone: R Donnelly 1-2; C McAliskey 0-5 (3f); P Harte (1-0 pen), N Sludden 1-1 each; M Donnelly 0-2; F Burns, C Meyler, D McClure 0-1 each. Carlow: D Foley 0-5 (3f); D O'Brien 1-1; P Broderick 0-4 (3f).
Carlow: B Molloy; C Crowley, S Redmond, C Lawlor; J Morrissey, D St Ledger, C Moran; S Murphy, E Ruth; S Gannon, D Foley, D Walshe; P Broderick, D O'Brien, J Murphy. Subs: M Rennick for Walshe (39), B Kavanagh for Moran (49), BJ Molloy for Crowley (54), C Lawlor for J Murphy (54), K Nolan for Morrissey (59), L Walker for O'Brien (60).
Tyrone: N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, C McCarron; M McKernan, F Burns, P Harte; C Cavanagh, D McClure; M Donnelly, N Sludden, C Meyler; C McShane, R Donnelly, C McAliskey. Subs: K McGeary for McAliskey (59), R O'Neill for Sludden (60), P McNulty for McShane (61), C McCann for M Donnelly (66), A McCrory for McCarron (70)
Referee: C Lane (Cork).
Sunday Indo Sport