Dubs drubbing ends Tyrone dreams

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Dubs drubbing ends Tyrone dreams thumbnail MICKEY Harte paid tribute to Tyrone’s departing captain Sean Cavanagh as he brought the curtain down on a wonderful career.

Tyrone's All-Ireland challenge was blown away by an awesome Dublin side at Croke Park, where the All-Ireland champions breezed to a 12 points semi-final win.


The Dubs careered into another final as they chase a third successive title triumph, and they made light of the task of dismantling the Ulster champions.

From the moment Con O'Callaghan smashed home a fifth minute goal, the Red Hands were chasing the game, and they faced a hopeless task against a well oiled machine that moved with ferocious pace and power all afternoon.

Now the Dubs will meet Mayo in a repeat of last year's final, and another success will confirm their status as the greatest gaelic football team of all time.

"I do believe the critical score was the goal. Until that time, it could have been a bit of a face-off up to half-time, and I think if we had held out to half-time without the goal in the game, we might not have conceded as many points," said Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.

"But Dublin were always superior, and particularly after that goal, the game was played on their terms, not ours, and that was not what we set out to do.

"We held out to half-time trying to play the system that we know best, but it wasn't proving very effective for us, so we had to change things up at half-time, and there's a great gamble in that.

"It leaves you open to more sufferance at the back, but I can't fault the players for their effort, and particularly in the second half, we asked them to give it all they had and see where that takes us.

"You don't want to say that you can't win the game, but the reality of the matter was that it was going to take a miracle turnaround for us to win the game.

"We wanted it to be a more respectable score-line at the end, and I feel it could have been, we had more chances to close the gap, but we didn't take them.

"Was that because we were wayward, or was it because we were under serious pressure? We missed a penalty, various things that would have made the scoreboard more respectable, but it wasn't going to hide the truth that Dublin were far superior today, and that's a fact we have to accept."

Harte conceded that he and his players received a serious reality check in front of a sell-out crowd of 82,000 at Croke Park.

"Maybe it's a good insight to know what standard you need to get to now if you want to play at their level regularly.

"It's the best Dublin team that I have faced in my championship career at senior level. I think you have to give them that now. I wasn't sure before today if that was the case, but I think I can be quite sure of that now."

Sean Cavanagh eased the Red Hands ahead from a free, which was quicky cancelled out by Dean Rock, but it was Dublin who card the greater attacking threat in those opening stages, and timely interceptions by Colm Cavanagh and Niall Sludden averted dangerous situations.

But the Sam Maguire Cup holders struck for a goal in the fifth minute. The ball was lost around midfield, and Philly McMahon spotted O'Callaghan in space. The U21 star gathered possession and headed straight for goal, smashing an unstoppable shot past Niall Morgan.

That score gave Dublin the comfort and the platform to lay down the law and proclaim that this game was to be played strictly on their terms.

Faced with a packed Tyrone defence, they held possession, switching from left to right and back again as they made Croke park as wide as possible, waiting for the opportunity to find a man in space for the shot.

Tiernan McCann did fire over a long range Tyrone point, but Dublin's patience helped them rack up the scores, with Paddy Andrews slotting over a couple.

Peter Harte converted a 45 metre free, but Tyrone were unable to maintain the sort of possession they needed to pose a genuine attacking threat.

The Metropolitans were soon back on the offensive, and scores from Rock and O'Callaghan, with two each, opened out an eight points lead.

Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey and Colm Cavanagh defended with all the spirit they could muster, but the Dubs' ability to move the ball around at will frustrated each and every one of the Red Hand players.

Sean Cavanagh sent Harte in for his second just before half-time, but the Dubs held a 1-9 to 0-5 lead at that stage, and the writing was on the wall.

Tyrone pushed more men into advanced positions at the start of the second half, and started to create scoring chances. Harte converted a free and Niall Sludden powered past a couple of tackles to fire over a point.

But the Dubs were also deadly on the counter-attack, and hit back efficiently with scores from Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey.

And they created a couple of goal chances.

Kevin McManamon came off the bench to smash a shot against the crossbar, and McCaffrey broke through, but with the goal gaping, he blazed his effort wide.

The champions' tackling was clinical as well, and they frustrated the Red Hands with a series of turnovers to turn defence to attack, breaking again for Rock to knock over a couple of frees.

The Ulster champions did enjoy a productive spell at the beginning of the final quarter, with Harte, Colm Cavanagh and Sludden all hitting the target, but they never looked like having enough firepower to make inroads into a commanding lead.

Another substitute to make an impact was Paul Flynn, who fired over three wonderful scores, and the strength of the Dublin bench was emphasised when Eoghan O'Gara joined the action to palm home his side's second goal, after Eric Lowndes had combined with Darren Daly.

A missed penalty brought further misery on a dark day for Tyrone football. Colm Cavanagh, one of few shining lights pn the day, was fouled by Philly McMahon, but Harte's kick was saved by Stephen Cluxton.

Tyrone - Niall Morgan; Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann (0-1), Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte (0-4); Colm Cavanagh (0-2), Conall McCann; David Mulgrew, Niall Sludden (0-2), Kieran McGeary; Mark Bradley, Sean Cavanagh (0-1), Mattie Donnelly.

Subs - Declan McClure (0-1) for C McCann, Rory Brennan for McGeary, Darren McCurry for Mulgrew, Ronan O'Neill for Bradley, Conor Meyler for Cavanagh, Padraig McNulty for McNamee


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