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Minor Hurlers Through To Celtic Challenge Semi Final
Tyrone minor hurlers made it through to the semi final of the Celtic Challenge after a high quality 4-9 to 1-14 win over Offaly at O’Neills Healy Park on Saturday afternoon.
Played in near perfect conditions the the standard of hurling was superb and the commitment of both sides exceptional. After enjoying a period of early possession during which the visitors looked sharp and incisive Offaly began with a point from the stick of Noti Standisu. `Tyrone responded positively with a fine score from the impressive Aodhan Molloy whose physicality and pace caused Offaly problems all day.
The teams swapped points with the Tyrone score coming from Liam Griffiths before a brace of Francie Hurson scores put the Red Hands two to the good. Offaly responded with a Dan Sweeney strike from distance and two fine points from midfielder Kian Kinnavery to tie the game again.
Offaly were forced to work hard to create chances but the Tyrone defence of Michael Coyle, Cormac Mc Crystal, Senan Munroe, Darragh Mc Phillips, Daithi Mc Elhatton and Ronan O’Sullivan remained resolute throughout with numerous blocks and hooks denying the Offaly forwards many clear cut chances.
Tyrone enjoyed a real purple patch from the seventeenth minute until half time. A goal and a point apiece from Shea Munroe and Liam Griffiths added to an earlier point from Molloy helped send them in at the short whistle leading 2-7 to 0-6. Offaly hit the final point of the half from full forward Sean Canty.
The Faithful County were much improved after the break with Davy Koyne, Dan Swilly, Kinnavey and Conor Banney driving them forward at every opportunity. Koyne landed two early points to give them hope as they began to enjoy more possession and space. Questions were being asked of the Tyrone defence and Ronan O’Sullivan and Darragh Mc Phillips dug deep to deny Offaly numerous chances for scores while full back Cormac Mc Crystal also had a huge second half.
However in spite of superb teamwork from the Red Hands Offaly began to reduce the deficit and it took a Francie Hurson free to steady the ship. With eight minutes remaining the gap was down to three and Tyrone were in bad need of a score. It came from the stick of substitute Pierce Mullin who had looked more than lively having been introduced at half time. The finish was exquisite and the score gave the whole team a lift.
Offaly did reply with a point from full forward Sean Carey but Tyrone now had the bit between their teeth and as the clock ticked towards injury time Aodhan Molloy finished off a fine team move to the net to seal the win.
Offaly pushed forward in search of a goal and Tyrone goalkeeper Aodhan Grogan was called into action several times to deny them. However there was little he could do to prevent the final score of the game when Michael Doodey got his stick to the ball with the last touch of the game for a consolation goal.
Tyrone now move into the semi finals of the competition thanks to this historic and well deserved 4-9 to 1-14 win.
Tyrone scorers: Aodhan Molloy 1-2, Liam Griffiths 1-2, Francie Hurson 0-3, Shea Munroe 1-1, Correy Bell 0-1, Pierce Mullin 1-0