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Magnificent Mulligan Display Lights up Croke Park
Tyrone’s successful start to the 2012 National League was due in no small measure to a tremendous second half team display which saw them overturn a three point deficit before winning comfortably by five. Teams need leaders at key moments in games and in this particular game the key man and on field leader was Owen Mulligan. There is something about playing in Croke Park that seems to bring out the best in the Cookstown attacker. His work rate all through this game was superb and even in the first half when Tyrone struggled at times to break down Kildare’s well organised defence Mulligan never stopped running and making himself available for the ball.
The second half saw a huge increase in intensity and effort from Tyrone and once again it was Mulligan, with Stephen O’Neill also hugely prominent who was central to most of Tyrone’s best work. He was back in defence acting as an extra defender tackling when required and then pushing forward building the play when the occasion arose. He made at least two great blocks and was responsible for one or two vital interceptions which led to Tyrone scores at key times. Of course no “Mugsy” performance would be complete without the obligatory trademark dummy or two followed by an outlandish score and we had those as well. His passing and movement were superb as he rolled the clock back and turned on a magical display that was reminiscent of Mugsy at his absolute best. When he is in this sort of mood he is virtually un-markable and that was what we were treated to against Kildare.
He not only led the line he lifted and inspired his team mates to throw off the shackles and have a real go at Kildare and it paid off with another superb second half of football which yielded two well worked team goals and and eight points. Not a bad return from such an inexperienced squad who will surely take a great deal of confidence from this victory as they begin their preparations for their next outing against Derry in Omagh on Sunday.