Second-half goals show gulf in class as Red Hands ease through
Tyrone 3-14 Carlow 1-10
Tyrone footballers avoided a potential banana skin on their first ever visit to Carlow soil, the Red Hands taking control of this All-Ireland qualifier after the opening half hour to eventually ease through to the next round with a comfortable 10-point victory.
Roared on by their loyal, colourful supporters, Carlow took the game to Mickey Harte's men early on, the loudest cheer of the day arriving on 17 minutes when full-forward Darragh O'Brien, son of team manager Turlough, took a pass from Paul Broderick to crash home a close-range finish as Carlow led 1-2 to 0-3. The home support began to dream that a massive shock might be on the cards.
But Tyrone, after an unsteady start, took control for the rest of the half and hit an unanswered five points to lead by three at the break. The Ulster side had by then assumed midfield control with Colm Kavanagh and Declan McClure ruling the roost.
Jordan Morrissey, Seán Murphy, Eoghan Ruth, Paul Broderick and Darragh O'Brien took the game to Tyrone but a scoring dividend of 1-2 for the first half was a paltry total.
Carlow were also indebted to goalkeeper Robbie Molloy, who made a point-blank save on 18 minutes to deny Tyrone full-forward Richard Donnelly a certain goal.
Tyrone manager Harte said it was vital for his side to respond to the Carlow goal, commenting: "Before half time we won a series of Carlow kick-outs and that gave us the platform," he said.
"We were hoping to impose ourselves in the second half."
And impose themselves the Ulster county did, outscoring their hosts 3-6 to 0-8 after the break.
Played in blistering sunshine before an attendance of 6,353, Tyrone demonstrated in that second half the gulf between a side close to the game's top table and a county striving to climb away from the lower reaches.
Tyrone scored 0-4 to 0-1 in the early stages of the second period and then Peter Harte, who had a magnificent game, stormed through the Carlow defence to set up a close range goal for centre forward Niall Sludden on 47 minutes.
Now leading 1-12 to 1-3 the gap in class was now clearly manifesting itself as Carlow struggled with the pace of the opposition.
When Molloy pulled down Mattie Donnelly, Cork referee Conor Lane had no hesitation in awarding a penalty which Harte crashed into the top corner of the net on 65 minutes.
A third goal from full-forward Richard Donnelly in the dying stages was the icing on the Tyrone cake as they advanced to Round 3 of the Qualifiers.
Carlow boss Turlough O'Brien said: "We came up against a top Division 1 team and held our own for 30 minutes. But we are very proud of the team who provided a great lift for the people of Carlow."