Tyrone land historic double

Tyrone captain Ronan McNabb holds up the Tom Markham Cup after his side defeated Mayo 1-20 to 1-15 in the replayed All-Ireland minor final at Pearse Park, Longford yesterday

Tyrone delivered a historic double as their minor footballers finally collected the Tom Markham Cup, which will sit proudly beside the Sam Maguire in the O'Neill County for the next 12 months.

They needed extra-time to settle a thrilling replay in front of 15,056 spectators at the Longford venue.

The Connacht champions dominated for long periods of the game, but it was Tyrone's capacity to work at their game throughout and ride the rough spells, before delivering a stunning final push in extra-time, that proved the difference.

The Red Hand teenagers were still going strong, with Mayo out on their feet, at the end of 80 minutes of absorbing action, and Conor O'Neill's goal in the 71st minute effectively decided the outcome of the game.

"I can't speak highly enough of the players, and I can't speak highly enough of the performance of the opposition, Mayo. They put us to the pin of our collar," said Tyrone manager Raymond Munroe.

"To think it was going to be that tough, it had to go to extra-time. I suppose what was on display there today was definitely the two best teams in Ireland. On another day, maybe Mayo would get the better of us. Thankfully today, one team takes the trophy up the road, and that's Tyrone."

Munroe said the only motivation that drives people like him to become involved in inter-county management in the Red Hand county is the success that can come at the end of it all.

"You get involved in this to win and when you get the players to buy into it it's great. Thankfully, in my three-year term, which is up now, that was the case. I have a few fellows there who were there with me the three years. They were the important ingredient in keeping the players driven," he said.

Mayo boss Ray Dempsey insisted that despite the agony of defeat, he has been in charge of a group of players who are imbued with a winning mentality, unlike teams that have represented the county in the past.

"This isn't like the past Mayo teams," he said. "These fellows showed character a long way ahead of what has been shown in the last few years.

"These bunch of lads have worked hard on their own game. Now the real commitment for these lads towards Mayo football is that they don't lose what they have learned in the environments they have played in.

"Hopefully they will build on what they have learned. They put everything into the game. I knew they would, that's the bottom line.

"If you want to be a success at inter-county, you have to have players who are willing to go to the well and come back stronger every time."

Mayo's dominance of the midfield area through James Cafferty, Ger McDonagh and the towering Aidan O'Shea helped them recover from Tyrone's positive start.

O'Shea saw an effort cleared off the line by Stephen McCrory and, on the counter-attack, wing back Ronan Tierney hit the first of his two first-half scores.

Aidan Walsh, from a free, and Raymond Geraghty were on target for Mayo but as Tyrone countered goalkeeper Robert Hennelly had to be quick off his line to deny Conor O'Neill, with Kyle Coney scoring from recycled ball for a 0-4 to 0-2 lead.

The Connacht champions tightened their grip on the central area, and profited with scores from skipper Shane Nally, Walsh and centre-back Eoin Reilly, who gave his side the lead for the first time on 25 minutes.

But a scintillating burst from Tyrone saw them hit four points, two of them from Coney and one from Niall McKenna, to take a 0-8 to 0-6 lead into the interval.

Tyrone's battling qualities kept them in the game at times when the excellent O'Shea threatened to run riot.

The sides were tied at 0-11 each when McKenna crossed from the right for Ciaran Gervin to arrive on the blind side and fist what looked to be a certain goal but goalkeeper Hennelly stretched to push the ball on to a post.

Mayo countered for a crucial score from substitute David O'Hara, and in a frantic final 10 minutes, both sides could have snatched it.

Conor O'Neill's late free edged Tyrone in front but just as he had done at Croke Park, Walsh drilled a pressure free between the posts in stoppage time to tie it up at 0-14 each.

Tyrone forged ahead in the first period of extra-time with Coney hitting a wonder point and McNeice converting two frees to give them a 0-17 to 0-14 lead.

And again Hennelly kept Mayo in the game with a third save, denying Donnelly.

Tyrone made a dream start to the second segment. For once, Hennelly failed to safely gather a McNeice cross and Donnelly nipped in to finish to the net from close range.

And they were awarded a penalty for a foul on McKenna, but Peter Harte opted to stroke the kick over the bar.

Mayo did pull back a fisted goal through Alex Corduff but this was Tyrone's day as they became the first Ulster county to win the double.

Scorers -- Tyrone: C O'Neill 1-3 (2f), K Coney 0-5, P McNeice 0-3 (3f), N McKenna, M Donnelly, R Tierney 0-2 each, R McNabb, C Gervin, P Harte (pen) 0-1 each; Mayo: A Walsh 0-6 (6f), A Corduff 1-0, A O'Shea 0-3 (2f), S Nally 0-2, E Reilly, J Cafferty, R Geraghty, D O'Hara 0-1 each.

Tyrone: T Harney; F McQuaid, G Teague, S McCrory; R Tierney, P Harte, R McNabb; N McKenna, R Keenan; C Girvan, D McNulty, M Donnelly; K Coney, P McNeice, C O'Neill. Subs: M Roges for Keenan, K Mossey for McCrory, S Warnock for McNulty, B McGarvey for Tierney.

Mayo: R Hennelly; D Dolan, K Keane, J Broderick; S McHale, E Reily, Nally; J Cafferty, G McDonagh; C Freeman, A O'Shea, R Geraghty; K Charlton, A Walsh, A Corduff. Subs: D O'Hara for Charlton, D Gavin for Geraghty, J Carney for McHale.

Referee: C Reilly (Meath)