Sunday 15 December 2019

Walsh rues missed chance as Tyrone weather storm

Tyrone 1-11 Galway1-9

Galway corner-forward Damien Comer is closed down by Tyrone pair Ronan McNamee, right, and Tiernan McCann during yesterday’s Allianz NFL Division Two clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Galway corner-forward Damien Comer is closed down by Tyrone pair Ronan McNamee, right, and Tiernan McCann during yesterday’s Allianz NFL Division Two clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Tyrone players Ronan O'Neill, Sean Cavanagh, Mark Bradley and Lee Brennan, tussel with Galway players Declan Kyne, Daithi O Gaoithin, Johnny Kerin, Thomas Dolan and Eoghan Kerin. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Galway's Eoghan Kerin in action against Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh, Tyrone. Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was delighted to see his young side hold on for victory in Galway, but the accumulation of four league points heading into a three-week break has satisfied him the most.

Last week's win over Cavan and this triumph in Salthill has Tyrone primed for a run at promotion to Division 1 and with an away tie in Laois up next an immediate return to the top flight is well on the cards.

But Tyrone could have made this win a lot easier than it was. With 62 minutes on the clock they held an eight-point lead and a man advantage after Galway midfielder Paul Conroy was shown yellow and black cards in quick succession shortly after the break.

But Galway kicked on well in the closing stages and followed Damien Comer's goal three minutes from time with three quick points. But Tyrone held solid and Harte had a second win in a week to digest.

"It's all about getting the points. Yes you would love good performances in doing that. But I think we saw parts of the game that we would be very pleased with," said Harte, now in his 14th season as Tyrone manager.

"The performances were good, the support play was good, the control play was good. There is other times of the game when just our game management was far from good. There is lots of things to work on.

"But it is essential that you keep picking up the points, because this is where we want to be. We want to be heading to the top of the table, and not looking to bottom of it."

Galway will regard this as a chance that got away. For long periods of the game they were totally dominated by Tyrone, but a couple of fruitful spells at the end of each half, meant they were in with a shout at the end.

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Ten second-half wides - 14 in total - annoyed manager Kevin Walsh, but he refused to be too downbeat in defeat. The double All-Ireland winner was full of praise for his young squad, and said he was heartened by their spirited last five minutes.

"In sport, 95pc of the time you get what you deserve, maybe 5pc of things out of your control can hit you. There was two sectors there where we allowed them ahead a little bit," said Walsh.

"Maybe in the end we had a lot of wides that were scorable, a few frees that were scorable. I wouldn't be stretching it to say we were disappointed that we didn't get a point out of it.

"There are things we have to improve on, but in finesses they are a new group of lads together and they worked rally hard for the last 25 minutes in particular.

"There was certain times where you could see they were on the back foot, but having said that, that's the type of team they are. If they get on top of you they can come in droves and run at you.

"The big thing is when that purple patch comes for them it's how to detain it and then do as good as you can for a good period and then move on. There was two big lull periods for ourselves and that cost us in the end."

One of those lull periods came after Galway had gotten off to a decent start to lead by 0-2 to 0-1 after 11 minutes. Their next score was 21 minutes arriving, in which time Tyrone has soared ahead, kicked 1-6 without response and Galway had Tom Flynn black carded for a trip on Niall Sludden.

The Tyrone goal was slightly fortunate. Conor Meyler's blocked shot rebounded off Tiernan McCann and into the Galway net, but three frees in a row before the break from Eddie Hoare meant just four points separated the sides.

Tyrone will feel they should have led by more that four at the break, but they soon began to add to their tally. After Conroy was sent off in the 43rd minute Galway deflated again.

Substitutes Mark Bradley and Lee Brennan impressed and their two points each helped the Red Hand kick five of the next six points to take total control, before Comer's goal and Galway flurry ensure a frantic finish.

Shane Walsh was then denied a goal from an acute angle by Niall Morgan with a minute to go, but despite three late points from Galway, Tyrone held solid in added-time for the win.

Scorers - Tyrone: T McCann 1-0, R O'Neill (1f), D McCurry (1f), L Brennan (1f), M Bradley 0-2, S Cavanagh, R Brennan, C McAliskey 0-1. Galway: E Brannigan, E Hoare 0-3 (3f), D Comer 1-0, P Cooke (1'45), S Walsh (1f), L Silke 0-1.

Tyrone - N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R Brennan, J McMahon, T McCann; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; N Sludden, M Donnelly, C Meyler; D McCurry, C McAliskey, R O'Neill. Subs: HP McGeary for McCarron (h-t), C Cavanagh for Meyler (42), M Bradley for McAliskey (42), L Brennan for McCurry (49), R Donnelly for McNulty (58), C McShane for C Cavanagh (66 BC).

Galway - T Dolan; E Kerin, D Kyne, D Wynne; L Silke, G O'Donnell, J Heaney; P Conroy, F O Curraoin; T Flynn, E Brannigan, E Tierney; D Comer, A Varley, E Hoare. Subs: P Cooke for Flynn (23 BC), S Walsh for Tierney (48), S Denvir for Hoare (62), R Greene for Kerin (68), D Cunnane for Kyne (68).

Ref - Derek O'Mahony (Tipperary).

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