Tyrone are All Ireland Masters for the third time in their history as they successfully defended their title in a thriller against a gallant Dublin side at Ballinagh on Saturday afternoon.
In the end extra time was required between two sides who gave it everything that they had in pursuit of glory in very warm weather conditions. After a slow start the holders led by two points at the break and by the end of the third quarter they were three in front and a man to the good after Dublin substitute Denis Bastick was sent off. To their credit Dublin hit back with 1-2 without reply and it meant that Tyrone had to come from two down with eight minutes to go which they did to force extra time. Five minutes each half only produced three scores and crucially Tyrone got two of them to deservedly emerge as champions once again.
Warren Finnegan and Tommy Brennan put the challengers into an early two point lead before a brace from Pomeroy’s Ollie McCreesh brought the sides level. Crossan and McCreesh exchanged points before the former got what proved to be Dublin’s last score of the half. A brilliant pass from man of the match Stephen O’Neill picked out attacking half back Gary Coney for the equaliser before O’Neill got his first of the afternoon from a free. The best score of the game arrived with the last kick of the first half as full forward O’Neill rolled back the years with an outstanding free with the outside of the boot from 47m out to leave it 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval.
Tyrone almost got in for a goal straight from the restart but O’Neill’s pile driver just cleared the crossbar. Dublin though responded with points from Brendan McManamon and Finnegan to leave just the minimum between the two sides. A McCreesh free steadied Tyrone before the superb Marty McGrath powered through from midfield to leave three between the sides.
Dublin were in trouble and things got worse for the challengers two minutes later when Denis Bastick was straight red carded moments after he had just come on. In the searing heat Tyrone now looked to be well on top but at the end of the third quarter it was all square after McManamon finished to the net past keeper Martin McCreesh. Dublin now had their tails up and a point from Brennan was followed by one from a Finnegan free to leave it 1-8 to 0-9 with just eight minutes left to play. Tyrone refused to accept defeat with Gormley leading by example and Martin Grimes reduced the deficit to the minimum.
With three minutes to go O’Neill punished a foul on Gormley by knocking over the resulting free and from a difficult angle in injury time he was unlucky to see his effort from another placed ball hit the post as it finished 1-8 to 0-11.
Dublin were now back up to fifteen players while Tyrone had to start extra time with fourteen after Karol McQuade had been black carded. An O’Neill free gave Tyrone a lead that they were never to lose before John McMullan left two between the sides at the break in extra time. In the opening attack of the second period Crossan reduced the deficit to the minimum but Tyrone showed their experience to retain possession and see out the game and take the silverware again.
Tyrone – M McCreesh, C Gourley, A Brady, D McDevitt, G Coney (0-1), C Gormley, L Patterson, M McGrath (0-1), D McAnallen, D Kelly, M Anderson, E Bradley, O McCreesh ((0-4, 2F, 1M), S O’Neill (0-5, 4F), N Grimes (0-1). Subs – B Collins for McAnallen, K McQuade for Brady, J McMullan (0-1) for Anderson, R McCallion for Grimes, A Brady for Coney
Dublin – J Keogh, C Donohue, S Guckian, F Condron, B Kirby, S O’Sullivan, G O’Connell, K Golden, D Flanagan, D Ryan, T Brennan (0-2), B McManamon (1-1), W Finnegan (0-3, 3F), C McGuinness, N Crossan ((0-3, 2F). Subs – K Carroll for Finnegan, I Clarke for Flanagan, D Bastick for O’Connell, P Murtagh for McGuinness