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HURLING| Tyrone Defeat Fermanagh In Nicky Rackard Cup.
Tyrone 3-23 Fermanagh 1-14
Second half goals from Damian Casey and Sean Og Grogan embellished a resounding Tyrone victory, at Dungannon on Saturday evening, as the O’Neill County preserved their Nicky Rackard Cup status following a competitive relegation clash against Fermanagh.
Kevin Ryan’s men were dealt a hammer blow, when referee Colum Cunning issued a second yellow card to Tiernan Morgan in the 18th minute, but such was Tyrone’s performance on the night you wouldn’t have thought they had been reduced in numbers.
The hosts produced some excellent passages of hurling. They harried and hassled Fermanagh all over the field with Cormac McHugh in imperious form in a hardworking defensive unit that quelled the considerable threat posed by Sean Corrigan and John Paul McGarry. Casey finished with an outstanding 1-17 to his name with Sean Og Grogan, Matthew Mulgrew and Chris Cross responding to the Dungannon man’s leadership.
Following the dismissal, Mulgrew unleased a thunderous shot to the net as Tyrone defied their numerical disadvantage to carve out a 1-9 to 0-4 lead after only 27 minutes. Casey with the bulk of those scores, but the closing stages belonged to Fermanagh, as they reeled off the final four points through Sean Corrigan and John Duffy to half the deficit to four points by the break.
Fermanagh were guilty of some poor shooting as they registered eight wides to Tyrone’s two during the opening segment. Casey continued to excel on the restart with two further points (a 65 and a free) extending the home lead, but Fermanagh were growing into the game and a Corrigan goal helped the Erne men close the gap to a single point 1-11 to 1-12 approaching the end of the third quarter.
That was as good as it got for the visitors because Tyrone found another gear and a Casey goal signalled the beginning of the end as the Red Hands eased clear in a one sided final quarter. Casey punished a number of indiscretions from placed balls – the highlight of the scores coming on 62 minutes when he effortlessly drilled over from almost 100 yards out.
Sean Og Grogan added the third goal in the closing stages while Fermanagh’s miserable evening was compounded by the dismissal of full back Matthew Teague on a second booking.
Mission accomplished for Tyrone with Nicky Rackard Hurling in 2017 guaranteed while Fermanagh must regroup for one final playoff against the Lory Meagher Cup winners in three weeks’ time.