Antrim Vs Tyrone

The second round of this year’s Dr. Mc Kenna Cup saw Tyrone take on Antrim in their home ground of Casement Park, Belfast. There were a lot of different faces to the Tyrone starting 15 compared to the team that took on QUB last weekend as Mickey Harte continued to give some of the younger players an opportunity to shine.

Sunday’s game was also an opportunity for me to try out my most recent photography purchase too – my Canon 7D camera. This is the second Canon 7D camera I have now… one is always used for team/people shots, which is normally fitted onto the 24-70mm lens, and now the second 7D has replaced my old Canon 50D on the 300mm sports lens. Needless to say its a fantastic camera – very fast at 8 fps (frames/photos per second) at the highest speed, excellent in low light conditions and superb clarity/colour in the photos…. no excuse for me now if I mess up any photos!

Sunday’s game started off similar in a way to last weekend’s game against Queens…. Tyrone found it difficult to finish off some nice moves into scores and hence it was Antrim that took the lead mid-way through the first half 0-03 to 0-01 and they probably should have been further ahead. Tyrone allowed Antrim a lot of movement in their own half during the opening 20 minutes too, often allowing the Saffrons to move as far as into the Tyrone half before Tyrone made an attempt to tackle or gain possession…. a tactic that may not have worked entirely today.

Despite being the better team in the first half, Antrim could only go in 0-05 to 0-03 ahead… however things were already looking optimistic for Tyrone towards the end of the 35 minutes as Stephen O’Neill was now on the field hopefully to improve the shooting in front of the posts.

And it was Stephen O’Neill’s introduction that turned the game around in the second half as in the opening five minutes, Tyrone scored 4 points with scores from Ronan O’Neill, Peter Harte and Stevie O’Neill. Antrim never let their heads drop though and they scored some fine points too and if it hadn’t had been for an excellent save from Tyrone No.1 John Devine, Antrim would have went ahead. But minutes after this missed chance, Aidan Mc Crory marched up the field and passed the ball to Stevie O’Neill to stick in the back of the net leaving it 1-12 to 0-09. Antrim never recovered from this late Tyrone goal and despite providing Tyrone with a challenging game, Liam Bradley’s men were defeated 1-12 to 0-10.

It was a very good game of football today and a Tyrone win was never certain at any stage. However, Tyrone dug deep and they have made it 2 wins out of 2, leading to a very interesting tie on Wednesday night against Peter Canavan’s Fermanagh to decide who will top the group and progress on to the semi finals of the 2012 Dr Mc Kenna Cup.

Below are some photos from the game.

Mickey Harte speaks to his players in the team huddle before the throw in.


Tyrone's starting fifteen honour the national anthem.



Ronan O'Neill plays his second game for Tyrone seniors.


Peter Harte shakes off his opponent.


Clonoe's Stephen Mc Nulty cues up a shot.


Peter Harte is dragged down.


Mark Donnelly was closely marked by the Antrim defence all afternoon.


Sparky narrowly misses a point in the first half.


Stephen O'Neill is brought on before half time for an injured Aidan Cassidy... Tony Donnelly issues a few last minute directions to Stevie before he enters the fray.


Ronan O'Neill tries to manoeuvre around the Saffron defence.


Niall Mc Kenna tries to steal the ball from Siomon Mc Donagh.


Aerial action from Casement Park.


Cathal Mc Carron collects the ball in a dangerous Antrim attack.


Martin Penrose added his valuable experience to the side in the second half.


Stephen O'Neill coolly slots the ball into the net for Tyrone after an excellent counter attack from No.2 Aidan Mc Crory.


A game of contrasting halves for Tyrone .... the left hand photo was taken at the end of the first half and the right hand image was taken at full time.


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