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Dr McKenna Cup Final Score: Tyrone 1-12 Antrim 0-10

Sunday 15.01.2012
Team Talk Mag
Club


Tyrone make it two wins in the 2012 Dr McKenna Cup with a five point victory over Antrim, thanks to a good second half performance at Casement Park. Stephen O’Neill marked his return to action as a substitute with an eye catching personal tally of 1-3, with the other nine points shared by Peter Hughes, Peter Harte, Ronan O’Neill, Cathal McCarron, Stephen McNulty and Mark Donnelly. After mustering just three points in the opening half, Tyrone stepped up their performance considerably on the resumption and went on to register 1-9 in the second half, eventually pulling five points clear of the home side, after being three behind in the opening quarter…

Almost 38 mintues gone and Tyrone are finishing this match off in impressive fashion as Mark Donnelly and Peter Hughes lob over a couple of tidy scores in quick succession to complement the goal from Stevie O’Neill. Antrim’s Conor Murray pops one over at the other end but surely there’s no way back for Antrim at this late stage of the match. Tyrone 1-12 Antrim 0-10…

With 33 minutes played in the second half Tyrone take a huge step closer to victory as Stephen O’Neill applies a brilliant finishing touch to wonderful approach work by Mark Donnelly, Colm Cavanagh and Aidan McCrory. The Errigal man could have taken the shot himself but elected to pass to Stephen O’Neill who rounded the keeper and hit the back of the net in fantastic style, giving him a personal tally of 1-3. Not bad for a substitute! Tyrone 1-12 Antrim 0-9…

A brilliant double save from John Devine prevents Thomas McCann from sending Antrim into the lead and Tyrone produce a slick counter attack as Stephen O’Neill hits his third point of the match, Tyrone’s tenth, but the Saffrons bounce back again as Paddy Cunningham finds the target from another free kick with eight minutes to go. Tyrone 0-10 Antrim 0-9…

A fine Antrim point courtesy of substitute Thomas McCann narrows the gap to two points approaching the 20-minute mark in this second half, and another point promptly follows as Paddy Cunningham converts an Antrim free, leaving the minimum margin between the sides. Tyrone have been playing much better football since half time but Antrim have responded really well with three scores in a row and are still very much in contention here for a positive result. Tyrone 0-9 Antrim 0-8.

An excellent point from Antrim’s Conal Kelly finally halts the Tyrone sequence of scores, giving the home side their first point of the second half. Tyrone 0-9 Antrim 0-6…

Tyrone’s scoring sequence continues as the two wing half backs, Stephen McNulty and Cathal McCarron, both deliver quality scores in the 10th and 12th minutes, making it six unanswered Tyrone points since half time. It’s a much better performance from Mickey Harte’s side in this half, and the game as a whole has much more quality about it. Tyrone 0-9 Antrim 0-5…

The Red Hands almost take a much tighter grip on the proceedings as Ronan O’Neill and Mark Donnelly join forces to create a chance for Peter Harte but the Antrim keeper denies the Tyrone star with a great save…

Stephen O’Neill’s class soon comes to the fore as he swings over two superb points, one with each foot, inside a two minute spell and Tyrone have now surpassed their entire first half total in the opening five minutes of the second period. Things are looking way better since the restart. Tyrone 0-7 Antrim 0-5…

Tyrone begin the second half in positive fashion as they put themselves on level terms very quickly with two excellent pointed frees from Ronan O’Neill and Peter Harte inside the first two minutes of the half. Tyrone look like a different team already in these opening exchanges of the second period. Tyrone 0-5 Antrim 0-5…

Some lovely approach work involving Colm Cavanagh and Ronan O’Neill allows Peter Hughes to record his second point of the afternoon in first half injury time. It’s only Tyrone’s third point of the match and it means that Antrim have a two point cushion as the half time whistle is blown. Tyrone 0-3 Antrim 0-5…

Stephen O’Neill enters the fray earlier than anticipated in place of the injured Aidan Cassidy, but just as it’s looking like Tyrone are starting to attack a bit more, Antrim extend their lead further as Paddy Cunningham splits the posts once again. Tyrone have work to do in this game but they’re still only three points in arrears. Tyrone 0-2 Antrim 0-5…

Paddy Cunningham adds another point to Antrim’s tally and then Brian Neeson almost extends their advantage again as he hits the post, but on 26 minutes Niall McKenna and Ronan O’Neill link up to create a chance for Peter Hughes and the Eskra man hits a well taken score to end a long barren spell for the visitors. Ronan O’Neill almost equalises moments later but his shot goes wide, and Mark Donnelly then misses a big opportunity to notch Tyrone’s third point when he hits an upright with a shot from 20 metres out. Tyrone 0-2 Antrim 0-4…

A brace of excellent scores from Brian Neeson in quick succession propels Antrim into a deserved two point lead on 19 minutes as Tyrone continue to find scores hard to get. Tyrone have hit five wides now with Ronan O’Neill, Colm Cavanagh and Ciaran Gervin among the players off target so far, although O’Neill’s effort from a long range free dropped just short. It remains a low scoring affair here at Casement Park and the Red Hands will be hoping that things start to improve soon. Tyrone 0-1 Antrim 0-3…

Antrim equalise through Conal Kelly on eight minutes before Peter Harte hits Tyrone’s third wide of the afternoon. It has been a tentative start to the match by Tyrone who have begun the match quite defensively. PJ Quinn has been Tyrone’s most prominent player so far. Tyrone 0-1 Antrim 0-1…

Six minutes gone and Tyrone open the scoring as Ronan O’Neill, Mark Donnelly and Niall McKenna combine to create an opportunity for Peter Harte which he duly despatches between the posts to give the Red Hands an early advantage. Tyrone 0-1 Antrim 0-0…

The first big chance of the game results in a bad miss from a close in free by Paddy Cunningham. Tyrone have had a couple of early half chances but it’s no score at either end just yet…

The action is underway at Casement Park and Tyrone show three changes to the side named during the week. The unfortunate Ronan McNamee is replaced by Cathal McCarron, and PJ Quinn comes in for Justin McMahon, while up front Mark Donnelly starts instead of Ronan McNabb. There are a few positional switches as well. The other news is that Stephen O’Neill is fit to take his place on the bench and could play some part in today’s proceedings. There will of course be a lot of interest in how Ronan O’Neill gets on in his first starting appearance, after scoring that goal with his first touch last week. Players like Conor Clarke, Aidan McCrory, Ciaran Gervin and Peter Hughes will also be keen to make a big impression…

Tyrone’s revised starting lineout…

1 John Devine
2 Aidan McCrory
3 Conor Clarke
4 Dermot Carlin
5 Cathal McCarron
6 P J Quinn
7 Stephen McNulty
8 Aidan Cassidy
9 Colm Cavanagh
10 Peter Harte
11 Peter Hughes
12 Mark Donnelly
13 Ciaran Gervin
14 Niall McKenna
15 Ronan O’Neill

Mixed fortunes for both sides going into this one after game one in this years McKenna Cup. The newcomers for Tyrone were most impressive against Queens however Antrim had a very disappointing performance against Fermanagh and ended up being well beaten. Some would say that the Tyrone team today is even less experienced than last week so it will be interesting to see how they perform against the Saffrons who must win today to have any chance of progressing to the semi finals.

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