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MASTERS| Tyrone Win All Ireland Title.

Tuesday 10.11.2015
Team Talk Mag


Tyrone Masters Make History.

Phelim O’Hanlon, Longford

25 years after Tyrone appeared in their first All Ireland Masters final they finally captured the title at Drumlish, County Longford on Saturday. Coming up against a vastly experienced Galway team going for their fourth masters’ title on the trot Tyrone turned in a memorable performance and amongst scenes of jubilation captain, Damien Gormley, lifted the Masters Cup. The disappointment of previous defeats in 1990, 2019 and 2013 was swept aside in a wave of emotion after the final whistle on Saturday.

Galway started the match the better and the holders looked comfortable in the opening exchanges, holding possession to good effect to work scores off the boot of the menacing Ollie Hynes and Fergal Mc Evoy. Hynes notched up one from play and won two frees which were converted by the centre half forward Mc Evoy. Another Galway score sent them into a four point lead and things looked ominous for Tyrone as they struggled to get a score on the board. At midfield the towering Mc Caul and O’Dowd were starting to exert great influence on proceedings. Forde at centre half back controlled matters organising his defence to good effect in this phase. Galway pressed hard to increase their dominance and only good defending from Paul Sweeney, Kevin Gormley, Brendan Sheehy and full back Gavan Mc Elroy held the tide with the latter making a full length diving block to deny Hynes a point which would have sent Galway five ahead. Gary Mc Kenna deserves praise for his tenacious display on Slattery whose pace and strength required the attention of a man marker. In fairness to Tyrone they continued to work hard and to build from the back. Kieran Leonard collected several dangerous balls in his own square to send Tyrone on the attack. Richard O’Neill, Sean Barkley and Conor Daly created several scoring opportunities for the inside forward line of Stephen Lawn, Mark Donnelly and Mark Darcy but the ball would just not go over with the Galway goalie John Davin plucking several off the crossbar. Galway were stifling attack after attack with their wing half forwards Geraghty and Beirne sitting back to bolster the defence and then breaking at pace

Tyrone’s first score was a long time in coming and came off the boot of Mark Donnelly who slotted over a free following good approach work from the marauding Damien Gormley and Conor Daly. They had a chance to go level after Barkley found Lawn with a long pass only to see the Galway keeper Davin deflecting the shot away with his boot. Tyrone squandered several more scoring opportunities which could have left them in a better place. The score remained as it was with both defences on top and a war of attrition developing around the middle third. The lively Darcy added only Tyrone’s second point in injury time to send Galway in with a two point lead.

Galway settled into another period of dominance at the start of the second half adding a further point to extend their lead to three following good work by the strong and forceful Slattery. The impressive Silke was getting more room to manoeuvre in their half back line and corner back O’Chonaghaille was doing his best to shackle Tyrone’s key marksman Donnelly. Sensing the game slipping from their grasp Tyrone management rang the changes and the reintroduction of first half midfielder, Mark Gallagher to wing half forward along with Gerard Mc Williams and John Mc Kenna was hugely influential in bringing Tyrone back into the game. First half substitute Peter Loughran, eventual Man-of-the-Match, was instrumental in turning the tide at midfield. Captain Gormley was beginning to exert even greater control and Mickey Mc Conomy proved to be a steadying hand hovering up much of the breaking ball from Galway kick outs following his introduction. The fresh legs of Dean Molloy provided a new outlet for Tyrone as they pressed forward. Entering the final quarter Tyrone began to increase the pressure on the Galway rear guard and something was sure to give. The energetic Lawn hoisted over a superb individual effort to close the gap to two. A long ball into the square by Mc Conomy was not taken cleanly in the square by the Galway defence. It fell to the boot of the onrushing Stephen Dooher who finished it to the net from close range to put Tyrone ahead for the first time in the game. Galway did level off the boot of a Hynes free but in effect Dooher’s goal galvanised a resurgent Tyrone. In the closing stages they looked a fitter and hungrier team perhaps driven on by their desire to capture their first Masters title. Magnificent scores from Donnelly, Mc Williams and Mc Conomy saw Tyrone push three ahead. As Galway drove forward in the closing minutes in search of an equalising goal Mc Elroy at full back crucially cut out two long passes to Hynes to extinguish any hope of a Galway four in a row.


The final whistle was met with scenes of joy from the Tyrone team and their dedicated followers as they ended a 25 year wait for masters’ glory. The sportsmanship of the Galway team was most evident as they set their disappointment aside to congratulate the Ulster men. Referee Gerry Sheridan from Cavan refereed the game to a high standard and played his part in a memorable final. Gaelic Masters Association Chairman John Pat Sheridan presented Tyrone captain Damien Gormley with the Gaelic Masters Cup and for Tyrone managers Eugene Bradley and Joe Leonard a 25 year wait for the title was over. Tyrone’s passion, fitness, work rate and the introduction of the right subs at the right time carried the day for them.

Tyrone: K Leonard, G McKenna, G McElroy, K Gormley, S Dooher, P Sweeney, B Sheehy, R O’Neill, M Gallagher, C Daly, D Gormley, S Barkley, M Darcy, S Lawn, M Donnelly.

Subs used : P Loughran, J McKenna, M McConomy(0-1), G McWilliams(0-1), D Molloy.


Galway: J Davin, O Hannon, R O’Donovan, M O Chonaghaile, S Silke, B Forde, V Small, C McCaul, S O’Dowd, D Beirne, B Geraghty, P Gallagher, J Slattery, F McEvoy, O Hynes.

Subs used : G Lee, B Walsh, T Corbett, T Burke, D O’Brien, C Daly, D O Flaharta.

Referee: G Sheridan (Cavan).



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