FL1: Red Hands tame Mayo

February 08, 2015

Mayo's Jason Donerty and Darren McCurry of Tyrone

Tyrone showed that they're no spent force with this excellent 1-11 to 1-7 victory over Mayo in front of 9,555 spectators at Castlebar.

Many column inches and touchscreens screamed at us of the O'Neill County's imminent demise last week following their implosion in the first round against Monaghan, but today they were a different animal.

The Red Hands produced a dominant first-half display to deservedly take a 0-8 to 0-4 lead into the break. By starving their opponents of possession in areas of the pitch where they might be liable to do damage then attacking in waves when the opportunity presented itself, the visitors certainly took a stranglehold on proceedings during those opening 35 minutes.

Their accuracy over the course of the match was also telling: while Mayo recorded 13 wides, the winners only missed the target five times.

Mickey Harte's men started purposely, kicking four of the first five points (all from distance) courtesy of Darren McCurry, Cathal McShane, Mattie Donnelly and Sean Cavanagh (free), with Jason Doherty on target for the Connacht champions in between.

Mark Ronaldson and Michael Conroy - via an upright - had Mayo back within the minimum but Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan slotted a long-range free to leave two between the teams by the end of the first quarter, 0-5 to 0-3.

McCurry (free) and Tiernan McCann restored the four-point margin before another booming Morgan free in the 31st minute stretched the margin even further. At the other end, Kevin McLoughlin's injury-time free closed the first-half scoring.

Six minutes after the restart, Morgan made an important save to deny Aidan O'Shea a Mayo goal. Prior to that, Jason Doherty (free) and Mattie Donnelly had traded the first two scores of the second moiety. A McCurry free made it double scores again and an eighth Mayo wide on 45 minutes did little to help their cause.

As temperatures rose, Cillian O'Connor was sprung from the bench and the hosts then lost O'Shea to a black card following a foul on Morgan.

The drama rose exponentially between the 50th and 57th minutes: first, O'Connor got his foot to the ball to poke it to the back of the Tyrone net for a hotly-disputed Mayo major; the hosts then thought they should have had a penalty before Peter Harte replied in kind with a Tyrone goal, lashing Sean Cavanagh's low delivery to the bottom of the net: 1-10 to 1-5.

O'Connor reduced the arrears with a wonderful free from distance but McCurry replied with a fine finish from a tight angle to make it 1-11 to 1-6 with seven minutes left. The westerners came forward in waves looking for a match-salvaging goal but all they could manage was a converted '45' from O'Connor in the second minute of added time.

Looks like we are in for a very close and exciting Division One this year!

Tyrone - N Morgan (0-2f); Justin McMahon, R McNamee, C McCarron; P Harte (1-0), R McNabb, A McCrory; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; T McCann (0-1), M Donnelly (0-2), P Hughes; D McCurry (0-4, 2f), S Cavanagh (0-1f), C McShane (0-1). Subs: PJ Lavery for C McShane, C McCann for P McNulty, B Tierney for R McNamee, N McKenna for D McCurry.

Mayo - D Clarke; M Hall, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, S Coen, C Boyle; A O'Shea, D Vaughan; D O'Connor, K McLoughlin (0-1f), J Doherty (0-2f); M Conroy (0-1), A Freeman, M Ronaldson (0-1). Subs: C O'Connor (1-2, 1'45, 1f) for M Ronaldson, P Durcan for C Boyle, B Moran for A O'Shea (BC), M Sweeney for A Freeman, G Cafferkey for L Keegan, A Dillon for D O'Connor.

Referee - E Kinsella.

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