Tyrone Vs Kildare – 2013 GAA Allianz Football League, Division 1 Semi Final

I was back in Croke Park, Dublin on Sunday afternoon to see Tyrone take on Kildare in the Allianz National football league Division 1 semi finals, a repeat of the league round tie just two weeks ago. Mickey Harte made a number of changes to the side that narrowly lost out to Kerry last week while Joe Mc Mahon was ruled out at the last minute after he picked up an injury.

Conditions in Croke Park were quite warm and pleasant, a first this year. And the quality of football on the football field shone too with a slick Tyrone move finishing with a quality finish by Mattie Donnelly. Kildare soon arrived however and, using the full space of the field, edged ahead after points from Johnny Doyle and Eoghan O’Flaherty. Kildare then struck goal themselves when Paddy Brophy blasted in a saved shot from close range after a well worked move and Tyrone went in at the break 1-06 to 1-05 down.

Tyrone responded immediately in the second half with a point from Martin Penrose and after a hefty challenge from Stephen O’Neill, the ball found Mark Donnelly who scored another goal for Tyrone (his goal count is definitely racking up this year!) Further points by Connor McAliskey and Stephen O’Neill gave Tyrone a comfortable lead but a Kildare goal in the 55th minute meant that a draw and extra time was becoming a possibility. But up stepped Tyrone captain Stephen O’Neill who scored 2 wonder points (which were a pleasure to see in real life) and Mark Donnelly finished the scoring with another point.

Full time score; Tyrone 2-15 Kildare 2-11

Sunday’s performance was classic Tyrone in Croke Park and it certainly ranks as one of my favourite Tyrone games since their last All-Ireland victory in 2008. Let’s hope they can finish it off with a Allianz Division 1 league title (their first since 2003) over Dublin in 2 weeks time.

The Kildare team line out in Croke Park.

The Kildare team line out in Croke Park.

 

Tyrone in their red jersey for the Allianz NFL Division 1 semi final.

Tyrone in their red jersey for the Allianz NFL Division 1 semi final.

 

Darren McCurry practices his shooting before the throw in.

Darren McCurry practices his shooting before the throw in.

 

An injured Joe McMahon was on water duties on Sunday.

An injured Joe McMahon was on water duties on Sunday following his late injury.

 

Sean Hurley attacks early in the game for Kildare.

Sean Hurley attacks early in the game for Kildare.

 

PJ Quinn, Conor Clarke and Dermy Carlin swarm around Kildare's Johnny Doyle.

PJ Quinn, Conor Clarke and Dermy Carlin swarm around Kildare’s Johnny Doyle.

 

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Sean Hurley keeps the ball away from Conor Clarke.

Sean Hurley keeps the ball away from Conor Clarke.

 

John Doyle shoots for goal for Kildare.

John Doyle shoots for goal for Kildare.

 

A fantastic tackle from Sean Cavanagh prevents Eoghan O'Flaherty's shot.

A fantastic tackle from Sean Cavanagh prevents Eoghan O’Flaherty’s shot.

 

Ronan McNamee holds on tight to Niall Kelly.

Ronan McNamee holds on tight to Niall Kelly.

 

Another big shot from John Doyle.

Another big shot from John Doyle.

 

Eoghan O'Flaherty extends Kildare's lead in the first half.

Eoghan O’Flaherty extends Kildare’s lead in the first half.

 

Mark Donnelly comes back to help out.

Mark Donnelly comes back to help out.

 

Marty Penrose collects the ball in the air.

Marty Penrose collects the ball in the air.

 

Peter Harte is substituted in the first half after he pulls up with an injury.

Peter Harte is substituted in the first half after he pulls up with an injury.

 

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A helpless Niall Morgan can do nothing to prevent Kildare's first goal.

A helpless Niall Morgan can do nothing to prevent Kildare’s first goal.

 

PJ Quinn holds firm in the defence.

PJ Quinn holds firm in the defence.

 

Martin Penrose attacks immediately after the throw in.

Martin Penrose attacks immediately after the throw in.

 

Sean Hurley and Aidan Cassidy tussle for the ball.

Sean Hurley and Aidan Cassidy tussle for the ball.

 

That challenge from Stephen O'Neill on Sean Hurley.... I felt it too!

That challenge from Stephen O’Neill on Sean Hurley…. I felt it too!

 

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Stephen O'Neill wins the ball which leads to Tyrone's second goal.

Stephen O’Neill wins the ball which leads to Tyrone’s second goal.

 

Aidan Cassidy finds Mark Donnelly.

Aidan Cassidy finds Mark Donnelly.

 

Mark Donnelly shoots to the back of the net.

Mark Donnelly shoots to the back of the net.

 

Sean Cavanagh drives forward for Tyrone.

Sean Cavanagh drives forward for Tyrone.

 

Connor McAliskey places the ball between the posts.

Connor McAliskey places the ball between the posts.

 

Conor Clarke leans back for a shot.

Conor Clarke leans back for a shot.

 

Martin Penrose weaves his way around the Kildare defence.

Martin Penrose weaves his way around the Kildare defence.

 

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A last ditch tackle prevents Martin Penrose's goal bound shot finding the net.

A last ditch tackle prevents Martin Penrose’s goal bound shot finding the net.

 

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Stephen O'Neill rolled back the years on Sunday.

Stephen O’Neill rolled back the years on Sunday.

 

Connor McAliskey loses his marker again.

Connor McAliskey loses his marker again.

 

Conor Gormley holds on tight to possession.

Conor Gormley holds on tight to possession.

 

Niall Morgan added further scores from 45s.

Niall Morgan added further scores from 45s.

 

TG4 man of the match Matthew Donnelly.

TG4 man of the match Matthew Donnelly.

 

Stephen O'Neill celebrates one of his wonder points from the Hogan stand wing. One of my favourite photos of the day.

Stephen O’Neill celebrates one of his wonder points from the Hogan stand wing. One of my favourite photos of the day.

 

Backroom team member Gavin Devlin issues instructions to the players.

Backroom team member Gavin Devlin issues instructions to the players.

 

Mickey Harte smiles with delight following Stephen O'Neill's second wonder point.

Mickey Harte smiles with delight following Stephen O’Neill’s second wonder point.

 

Mickey Harte and Kieran McGeeney shakes hands after the game.

Mickey Harte and Kieran McGeeney shakes hands after the game.

 

Captain Stephen O'Neill and the players are applauded off the field.

Captain Stephen O’Neill and the players are applauded off the field.

 

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