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.
Tyrone made it 2 wins from 2 in 2015 with a convincing 12 point win over St Mary’s University College, Belfast in Healy Park, Omagh on Sunday.
In a very low key and eventless game, both sides were guilty of making a lot of errors in the first half. Tyrone got off to a 3 point lead with points from McAliskey but they also hit a lot of poor wides again this weekend. St Mary’s made some pacey attacking runs but often found it difficult to break through the Tyrone half back and full back line. In a uninspiring first half it was Tyrone that went in 0-05 to 0-02 up.
St Mary’s were reduced to 14 men for the second half but Paddy Tally’s side managed to win a penalty at the start of the period – a well struck Jerome Johnston penalty though was saved by Mickey O’Neill and from the resulting counter attack, Tyrone scored a goal themselves with debutant Patrick Quinn palming to the St Mary’s net. This period of 60 seconds effectively ended the game as a contest as it gave Mickey Harte’s men a five point cushion from which they widened following points from Cathal McShane, Peter Hughes, Sean Cavanagh and Kyle Coney.
Full time score; Tyrone 1-12 St Mary’s U.C. 0-03
It wasn’t a great performance from Tyrone but it was enough to see them secure a Dr McKenna Cup semi final place ahead of Wednesday night’s final group game against Antrim.
The Tyrone team line out for their first game in Omagh in 2015.
The St Mary’s U.C. Belfast side.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.
St Mary’s manager Paddy Tally.
Tyrone got their 2015 season off to a win in Sunday’s opening Dr. McKenna Cup game against Armagh. Nearly 6 months since their last game, also to Armagh, the team had a different look with Stephen O’Neill, Martin Penrose and Conor Gormley no longer with the team following their retirements, Peter Donnelly took the place of Fergal McCann as the new trainer and the Hunky Dory’s logo was replaced by new sponsors McAleer & Rushe.
Following a lengthy 30 minute delay to the game due to a lack of open turnstiles at the Athletic Grounds, the game got underway. Minutes into the match, a small melee broke out on the Armagh endline resulting in a red card to Tyrone’s Colm Cavanagh and Armagh’s Ciaran McKeever. Tyrone will be disappointed with the number of wides they hit in the first half and at times they found it difficult to break through Armagh’s half forward line resulting in them going in 0-06 to 0-05 down at HT.
In the second half, Tyrone continued to fall behind Armagh until a well worked Aidan McCrory goal gave them a 1 point lead. Armagh minutes later however struck back with a goal of their own from Eugene McVerry to reinstate their lead going into the last 10 minutes. But it was the youth of Tyrone that stepped up to the mark as Cathal McShane and Darren McCurry hit the final 4 points of the day to give them a 2 point win.
Not a great performance by any means but a the great result ahead of their next game against St Mary’s U.C.
Full time score; Armagh 1-10 Tyrone 1-12
The new look Tyrone team line out in Armagh.
Mickey Harte watches over his players during the warmup.
Peter Donnelly, the new Tyrone trainer.
Dungannon Clarkes exited the Ulster championship series on Sunday in Newry to a very strong St Peters, Warrenpoint.
Warrenpoint made their intentions clear from the start playing a very attacking game and giving the Clarkes defence little time to settle into the match. Dungannon however went into the lead after 5 minutes when Patrick Quinn palmed a high ball into the net but they failed to capitalise on the goal as Warrenpoint ruled supreme around midfield for most of the game. Ross McGarry continued to create further problems for Dungannon as he scored 6 first half points and the Clarkes were lucky enough to be going in level at 1-05 to 0-08.
The inevitable happened in the second half as Warrenpoint tussled Dungannon’s main danger men out of the game as they continued to dominate around midfield. The Clarkes did win a late penalty scored by Kiefer Morgan but it was too little, too late as St Peters progressed to the Ulster semi finals.
Full time score; St Peters 0-17 Dungannon Clarkes 2-09.
Dungannon Clarkes line out in Newry.
Team captains Ryan Boyle and Kiefer Morgan with the match officials.
An early Warrenpoint attack.
Patrick Quinn gets his hand onto the ball to score an early Dungannon goal.
Killyclogher became the new Tyrone ACL Division 1 champions on Sunday afternoon after a fine four point win over Dromore in Carrickmore.
Mark Bradley’s first half goal was key to their success and allowed them to go in one point ahead at HT but despite a valiant effort from Dromore, points from Leo Meenan, James Carlin and Conal McCann were enough to see them through and win the game to end the 2014 footballing season on a high for them.
Full time score; Killyclogher 1-09 Dromore 0-08.
Below are my photos from the game.
Dromore line out for the league final.
Team captains Sean O’Neill and Leo Meenan with referee Eugene Mc Connell.
Leo Meenan lets an early ball slip through his grasp.
On Saturday afternoon, St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon opened their new GAA grounds Pairc Mhic an tSagairt (named after the late Mon. McEntaggart) with a wonderful exhibition of football remembering the successful MacRory Cup teams of 1991/1997 and 2004.
For me this was a terrific trip down memory lane as I attended St Pat’s (Boys’) Academy from 1996 to 2003 and have a lot of fond memories from those years. At the end of my first year in 1997, the school won the MacRory Cup and I can still remember the celebrations with Monsignor Faul in the assembly hall and what an event this was. Seven years later the cup returned and although I had already left the school, I knew most of the boys involved in the team and it was fantastic to see them back in the red Academy jersey on Saturday for the exhibition match.
Although there have been a lot of changes in the school structure and staff since I have left, it was great to see some of the teachers that taught me and some old school pals too throughout the day. Together with some nostaglic tales from Paddy Parke, Adrian Logan, Fintan Donnelly and Fr McAleer, it really was a wonderful afternoon.
The opening of Pairc Mhic an tSagairt is the beginning of a new chapter for St Patrick’s Academy as they have now been approved for a new school build – hopefully these new exciting developments will mean that the next MacRory Cup success isn’t far away.
Below are a range of photos from the day, all of which was led and coordinated impeccably by past pupil and 2004 MacRory Cup winner Owen Coyle. Maith thú!
The new Paric Mhic an tSagarirt GAA Grounds.
The 1991/1997 MacRory Cup winning team.
The 2004 MacRory Cup winning team from St Patrick’s Academy.