Tyrone recover from slow start to sink Carlow

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Carlow 1-10 Tyrone 3-14


TYRONE quelled the Carlow rising with a dominant second half display as they powered through to round three of the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers.
The Red Hands are gathering momentum along the back door route, and they're off to Croke Park this weekend to face Ulster rivals Cavan.
Aside from the opening 20 minutes, when Turlough O'Brien's side embraced the prospect of another fairytale afternoon, they never troubled a seasoned Red Hand side that exploited all their opponents' weaknesses and struck ruthlessly for goals in the second half.
Niall Sludden, Peter Harte and Richie Donnelly all found the net as Mickey Harte's men strode to a comfortable ten points winning margin at Netwatch Cullen Park.
It was comfortable in the end for Tyrone as they dismantled their opponents defence with a patient, powerful approach, and the scores came heavily as the game progressed.
As the Red Hands marched on to the next challenge, the Barrowsiders displayed continued to bask in the sunshine and displayed their pride in a team that has given them many joyous moments.
But this was a bridge too far for Carlow, and the gulf in class was evident from an early stage as Tyrone set out their stall and set sail for the Super 8s.
"We certainly expected a tough challenge, and we knew the template that they'd bring," said full forward and goal-scorer Richie Donnelly.
"It's worked for them in most games so far, so we had a fair idea that they weren't going to stray too far from what's been working for them.
"We were preparing for them holding the ball for extended periods, so we just had to be patient and pick the right moments on when to tackle and try and get those turnovers, and it seemed to work as the game went on."
After taking a three points lead into the interval, Tyrone played a more expansive game in the second half, stretching the game along the flanks and creating the pockets of space which gave them scoring opportunities.
The scores flowed, including three-pointers from Donnelly, Niall Sludden and Peter Harte, from a penalty.
"The middle channel was very congested all day, so we knew that there would be room in the wide channels to try and exploit.
"Whenever we did get there, we still had to be patient, and make sure we worked the right shot, because it wasn't on all the time, because it takes a lot of patience and good decision-making when we're in there."
Donnelly seized his chance when drafted into the team for the clash with Meath, after Lee Brennan and Mark Bradley were ruled out through injury.
But his performances have given manager Mickey Harte a dilemma, and the talented Trillick man will be difficult to drop.
"It's not an easy team to stay on, so any chance you do get in a starting jersey, you need to take the opportunity," he said.
"Whether you're starting or coming on, and we saw the benefit of the boys coming on and really pushing us home.
"It's very important on a personal level, because you don't get these jerseys handed to you. You have to work very hard for them, so whenever you do get it, you have to do your best to make sure you keep it, get the performance and keep that jersey, and hopefully it will continue."
Against Meath and Carlow, Donnelly has been a valuable contributor in terms of creativity and score execution, and he is happy to do his bit, even when it meant carrying out the often unseen work off the ball.
"That's what it's all about doing what you're meant to do for the team first and foremost, and whatever comes on top of that then you take it, and just make the right decisions for the team.
"Thankfully it went well and when the scores came I took them, so I'm happy with that."
Looking ahead at the prospect of a run of games week by week, Donnelly accepts that it is a demanding schedule, but he feels the Red Hands are ready for whatever comes their way.
"We have a lot of work in the bank from last November, with this in mind, with what we feel we need going towards the Super 8s, and in this run of games, we knew what was coming down the line.
"So we have prepared for it, and it's just about freshening up now between games and making sure we're game-ready come next week again.
"I know it's a cliché, but we're genuinely just taking it week by week now, because if we don't, that's when you get caught, so we'll prepare all week for next weekend and take it as it comes."
In front of a crowd of 6,353, Paul Broderick gave the Carlow faithful reason to be cheerful as he hoisted a monster free between the posts from 50 metres close to the sideline.
Richie Donnelly slotted over the equaliser in the seventh minute, but the Leinster men went back in front with Darragh Foley's effort.
Frank Burns and Conor Meyler both hit the target to get them in front for the first time in the 15th minute, but seconds later, the Carlow men stunned the reigning Ulster champions with a Darragh O'Brien goal.
However, that 16th minute strike was to be their last of the half, and Tyrone reeled off a rash of scores from McAliskey (3) and Mattie Donnelly (2) to lead by 0-8 to 1-2 at the break.
With Declan McClure, Peter Harte and McAliskey all finding the target, the Carlow dream was slipping away, and it all came crashing down in the 48th minute when Sludden fired in Tyrone's first goal.
Harte smashed home a penalty to put the game out of sight, and the Carlow men were out on their feet. Tyrone, with men raiding in support, finished the job off in stoppage time as Conall McCann provided the assist for Richie Donnelly to rifle home goal number three.
Carlow did keep fighting until the end, with Darragh Foley and Broderick hitting a handful of frees, but they had known for some time that their summer had ended.
Carlow scorers: Darragh O'Brien 1-1, D Foley 0-5 (0-3 frees), Paul Broderick 0-4 (0-3 frees).
Tyrone scorers: Richie Donnelly 1-2, Niall Sludden 1-1, Peter Harte 1-1 (1-0 pen), Connor McAliskey 0-5 (0-3 frees), Mattie Donnelly 0-2, Frank Burns, Conor Meyler, Declan McClure 0-1 each.
Carlow: Robbie Molloy; Chris Crowley, Shane Redmond, Conor Lawlor; Jordan Morrissey, Daniel St Ledger, Ciaran Moran; Sean Murphy, Eoghan Ruth; Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley, Diarmuid Walshe; Paul Broderick, Darragh O'Brien, John Murphy.
Subs: Mark Rennick for Walshe, Brendan Kavanagh for Moran, BJ Molloy for Crowley, Cian Lawlor for J Murphy, Kieran Nolan for Morrissey, Lee Walker for O'Brien.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Michael McKernan, Frank Burns, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Declan McClure; Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler; Cathal McShane, Richie Donnelly, Connor McAliskey.
Subs: Kieran McGeary for McAliskey, Ronan O'Neill for Sludden, Padraig McNulty for McShane, Conall McCann for M Donnelly, Aidan McCrory for McCarron.
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).


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