Tyrone U21’s achieved one of the most important feats of the past 7 years for the county when they lifted the Clarke Cup over a determined and hungry Tipperary side in Parnell Park, Dublin on Saturday night.
It has been widely publicised how the Tyrone U21 side has under-performed in Ulster over the last number of years and this All-Ireland success will certainly be a massive boast to the county’s morale as a whole, especially 2 weeks before the senior’s opening championship fixture against Donegal.
Played in cold and wet conditions on Saturday night, it was Tipperary who started the strongest while in the other end of the field Tyrone’s wide count was starting to accumulate. Mark Bradley and Michael Cassidy scored the first couple of points for Fergal Logan’s side and Danny McNulty added with a free before the break but it was the Munster champions who proved to be the better team in the first half going in 0-07 to 0-05 up at HT.
Two serious medical incidents in the crowd during the break caused the game to be delayed for at least 50 minutes before play could be resumed again. This extended break in play perhaps worked to Tyrone’s advantage as they regrouped and refocused and came out stronger. Ruairi McGlone’s inclusion into the forward line created a much more direct and attacking approach to Tyrone’s play allowing Lee Brennan to score the subsequent free kicks to level the game 0-08 apiece. The all important score came soon after when Mark Kavanagh’s ball found Cathal McShane who coolly converted the ball into the back of the net for the decisive goal. This time it was Tipperary who were guilty of missing some easy scoring chances but despite cutting the margin down to one point, they couldn’t find that equaliser in a nail biting 4 minutes of added time.
Despite the sending off of Michael Cassidy during added time, Fergal Logan, Brian Dooher and Peter Canavan’s side held on for the historic win. Well done to them!
Full time score; Tyrone 1-11 Tipperary 0-13.
View over 80 of my photos below.
The 2015 U21 All-Ireland champions!
Tyrone captain Kieran McGeary lifts the Clarke Cup.
Tyrone U21 manager Fergal Logan.
Lee Brennan looks for options
A couple of weeks ago now (I’m a bit behind in updating my blog here), Tyrone took on Kerry in the final league game of the year in Healy Park, Omagh – it was a must win game for Mickey Harte’s team but in a rare occurrence, Mickey wasn’t at this game due to recovering from a minor medical procedure.
Tony Donnelly took over the reins with Gavin Devlin for the Easter Sunday game but unfortunately even though Tyrone threw everything bar the kitchen sink into the game, they could only pull off a draw which wasn’t enough and means they will be playing Division 2 football in 2016.
Full time score; Tyrone 0-17 Kerry 1-14.
Below are my pics from the match.
The Tyrone senior team.
The Kerry senior team pictured in Omagh.
Sean Cavanagh and Kieran Donaghy with referee Joe McQuillan.
Tyrone senior hurlers finished off a brilliant league campaign in 2015 by winning the Division 3A title, beating neighbours Monaghan in a close game in Keady on Saturday.
Mattie Lennon’s side first played Monaghan back in February, a contest which ended in a draw, and this game could have went either way too. Tyrone were slow to get started in the game and their first point didn’t come until the 11th minute. But they soon found their feet and further scores followed. Damien Casey did miss a first half penalty but the Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh man converted plenty of long range points to allow them go in at the break ahead.
Tyrone pulled further ahead in the second half with scores from Mark Winters, Justin Kelly and more from Casey to seal the result for Mattie Lennon and Dave Kennedy’s players…… a fantastic result for our hurlers. bringing home silverware for the second year in a row.
Full time score; Tyrone 0-18 Monaghan 1-11
Below are my photos from the game.
Tyrone hurling captain Damien Casey.
The Tyrone team line out in Keady.
The Monaghan senior hurling team.
Tyrone senior hurlers staged a fantastic comeback in Healy Park, Omagh against an unbeaten Roscommon side on Sunday to set up a Division 3 final against Monaghan.
Played in sunny conditions, Roscommon hit a fortunate early goal but Tyrone struck back with a goal of their own through Sean Og Grogan. Both sides swapped points in the first half with Tyrone scores coming from Chris Cross, Damien Casey and Conor Grogan but it was Roscommon who finished the half strongest going in at the break 1-07 to 1-06 ahead.
The second half continued the same as the first with both sides battling for every ball providing plenty of drama and entertainment. Roscommon looked to have the edge over Mattie Lennon’s side after 20 minutes going ahead 4 points but the tide began to turn for the home side and more refereeing decisions went Tyrone’s way. Damien Casey added more points to his personal tally of 0-10 and in the closing minutes of the game he scored the winning point with another well place free to set up a league final encounter with Monaghan in 2 weeks time.
Full time score; Tyrone 1-14 Roscommon 1-13
The Tyrone team warm up in glorious conditions in Healy Park.
The Tyrone senior hurling team.
Tyrone hurling manager Mattie Lennon.
St Pat’s Academy, Dungannon fell to St Pat’s College, Cavan in this year’s Ulster Colleges MacRory Cup final in Armagh on Tuesday.
The Cavan side led for most of the game with their midfield claiming most of the Academy kickouts to go in 0-06 to 0-04 up at HT. Dungannon did come back after the break stronger with a couple of quick points to level the game but that was as close as it got for the Tyrone representatives as Cavan got a hold back onto the game before Edward Donohue struck the first of two goals to end the game as a contest. Hard luck to my old school, they will be back!
Full time score; St Patrick’s Academy 0-08 St Patrick’s Cavan 2-12.
Below are my photos from the game.
St Patrick’s College Cavan team.
St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon…. probably the widest team photo ever.
Team captains Fintan McClure and Pierce Smith with referee Paudie Hughes.
St Pat’s Academy management Peter Herron and Ciaran Gourley.
Tyrone’s good run in Division 1 came to a disappointing end on Sunday afternoon when they were defeated by the narrowest of margins by Cork in Healy Park, Omagh.
The red hands got off to the best start possible with Connor McAliskey losing his man and firing home a goal in the third minute for the first score of the game. Aidan McCrory came close to adding a second goal minutes later but Darren McCurry and McAliskey added some tasty points before a dominating run from Padraig McNulty into the Cork square resulted in him being pulled down allowing Peter Harte to convert the resulting penalty. Tyrone were cruising by this stage while Cork were still finding their feet going in 2-06 to 0-07 down.
The rebels played with the now stronger breeze in the second half and although Tyrone still looked comfortable and a place in the semis was nearly secure, their dominance in midfield waned. Both sides made substitutions with Daniel Goulding, Donal Og Hodnett and John Hayes coming on for Cork and PJ Lavery, Danny McBride and Paddy McNiece coming on for Tyrone but it was the Cork subs which made the biggest impact with Goulding scoring 2 points in the final quarter. As the clock ticked down, Tyrone let their once 5 point lead slip to a draw and in the closing 3 minutes, Cork’s Colm O’Neill clinched the game with another point.
Full time score; Tyrone 2-10 Cork 0-17.
Overall, a very positive first half performance from Tyrone but they will be bitterly disappointed with how they let the game and a place in the semis slip out of their hands.
The Cork team line out in Healy Park, Omagh.
The Tyrone senior squad.
Team captains Sean Cavanagh and Michael Shields with referee Marty Duffy.
Connor McAliskey sidesteps his marker.
The celebrations from last Saturday night’s Dr McKenna Cup success seemed like a distant memory when Tyrone’s first game of the National Football League got off to a bad start when they fell to a seven point defeat to Monaghan.
Wins won’t come easy in Division 1 and this fixture was one game that Tyrone would have hoped to pick up points from….. everything was going to plan in the opening 15 minutes when they cruised into a 0-07 to 0-02 lead thanks to scores from Peter Hughes and Darren McCurry but then a 40 minute scoreless drought followed when Monaghan edged their way back into the lead to make it 0-07 to 0-05 at HT.
In the opening five minutes of the second half, Monaghan’s confidence and dominance in the game continued and just before a floodlight failure in Healy Park (which caused a 25 minute delay to the game) they took a 0-08 to 0-07 lead thanks to a score from my cousin Ryan McAnespie who made his Monaghan senior debut on Saturday night. Even the failure of the floodlights couldn’t spark a revival in the Tyrone players and scores from Paul Finlay, Dessie Mone and Daniel McKenna and a Stephen Gollogly goal meant that Monaghan cruised into a comfortable lead. The loss of Mattie Donnelly (black card) and Colm Cavanagh ( two yellows) didn’t help Tyrone’s cause either. Niall Morgan did convert a 45 for Tyrone but there was no doubt who the superior team were on the night and the Farney Army fully deserved their win.
Full time score; Tyrone 0-09 Monaghan 1-13
The final team huddle before throw in.
The Tyrone starting fifteen players.
Ronan McNamee clears the ball in defence.
Tyrone won the Dr McKenna Cup on Saturday night for the fourth consecutive year after a hard earned victory over Cavan in Armagh.
Things weren’t going to plan for the match favourites in the first half when the Cavan forwards constantly sliced open the Tyrone defence and picked off some wonderful points to give them a healthy 0-10 to 0-06 advantage at HT. While the Breffni men were scoring from the left and the right side, Tyrone only managed to score one of their first half points from play, the five remaining scores coming from free kicks and 45s…. a worrying and disappointing half for Mickey Harte’s men.
Changes were made in the second half however and it yielded better results. A much more hungry Tyrone side swept aside the challenge and deficit on the scoreboard as big performances from Padraig McNulty, Sean Cavanagh, Aidan McCrory and Darren McCurry and a well taken goal from Niall McKenna resulted in Tyrone taking and holding the lead in the game as Cavan failed to score in the second half at all.
Full time score; Tyrone 1-13 Cavan 0-10.
This was another positive result for Tyrone and it was good to see them win the Dr McKenna Cup again but it will mean very little next Saturday night when the derby of Tyrone vs Monaghan begins their league campaign where points on the table will be the No.1 priority and with teams like Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Donegal and Mayo to overcome, it will be a huge test of what this team is made of.
The Dr McKenna Cup takes centre stage.
Sean Cavanagh leads the Tyrone team out.
Team captains Damien O’Reilly and Sean Cavanagh.
In less than 3 weeks, Tyrone and Armagh met for the second time in this year’s Dr McKenna Cup except the stakes were a bit higher this time with a place in the final up for grabs.
In another experimental lineup for Tyrone, the players didn’t take long to find their groove as a well worked move from Clonoe players Connor McAliskey and PJ Lavery resulted in a fifth minute goal from Lavery. A second goal came minutes later from corner forward Shay McGuigan and Tyrone gained a 6 point lead over the Orchard county. Armagh did score a goal of their own to reduce the margin but a saved Connor McAliskey shot fell in favour of Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh who blasted the ball into the net for a third Tyrone goal.
The second half was less entertaining as Tyrone cruised to their most convincing win of 2015 over a very lacklustre Armagh side. MOTM McAliskey scored three lovely points in the half before being substituted by Darren McCurry who got on the scoresheet himself.
Full time score; Armagh 1-08 Tyrone 3-10.
Tyrone now face Cavan in the final on Saturday night and they will be hoping to making it their fourth consecutive McKenna Cup title.
A general view of the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.
PJ Lavery darts in around the Armagh defence,
Connor McAliskey steadies himself.
A few days later than planned, Tyrone’s third round Dr McKenna Cup game against Antrim took place on Sunday afternoon not in Healy Park, Omagh as planned but St Tiernach’s Park, Clones due to the inclement weather conditions in the west. Due to the relocation of the game and traffic diversions around Emyvale on Sunday morning, the numbers attending the game were badly affected and I would estimate there were no more than 600 people in attendance for the final group match.
An experimental Tyrone side lined out for the game and it took the most of the first half for them to find their form. There were little between the sides in the first half and Tyrone again made hard work of getting their scores with many shots falling short. They also had a number of goal chances from Sean Cavanagh, Connor McAliskey and Mark Donnelly but had to settle going in at the break 0-07 to 0-04 ahead with the points coming from Connor McAliskey, Cavanagh, Plunkett Kane and Darren McCurry.
A much more efficient Tyrone performance came in the second half however and some strong attacking runs from Aidan McCrory, Barry Tierney and Ronan McNabb produced greater results. A high Sean Cavanagh free was palmed onto the crossbar by Antrim goalie Chris Kerr but full forward Kyle Coney slotted the loose ball into the back of the net for the only goal of the game. From this point on, Mickey Harte’s men were in full control of the game and they added further scores from Cavanagh, McCurry and McAliskey to give them a 7 point cushion at the final whistle.
Full time score; Tyrone 1-11 Antrim 0-07
All being well, Tyrone will now take on Armagh again in Wednesday night’s Dr McKenna Cup semi final – it will be another tough challenge for the players before the first league encounter against Monaghan on the 31st January.
Mickey O’Neill steps onto the icy pitch at St Tiernach’s Park, Clones.
The main Gerry Arthurs stand at 2pm …. a far cry from the crowds in June or July.
Connor McAliskey shoots for a point.