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Red Hands Bridge Ten Year Gap

Monday 13.08.2018
Team Talk Mag
All Ireland Series


Tyrone 1-13 Monaghan 0-15

Tyrone bridged a ten year gap to qualify for their sixth All Ireland senior football final when they just did enough to edge out neighbours and Ulster championship conquerors Monaghan at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.


As expected it was a contest that went right down to the wire with Niall Sludden’s goal six minutes from time proving to be the crucial score. The Dromore man’s strike came at a time when Tyrone had trailed for the first time in the contest and despite a late rally from Monaghan the Red Hands managed to hold out to book a final date with four in a row chasing Dublin on September 2nd.


Tyrone got off to the best possible start when man of the match Colm Cavanagh hit a superb point inside twenty seconds. Mattie Donnelly and Padraig Hampsey then combined for Niall Sludden to double that advantage but from the next kick out Conor McManus landed a wonderful point from out on the right wing, his only score from play all afternoon. The Red Hands were on top in those early exchanges and superb efforts from Connor McAliskey and Frank Burns left them 0-4 to 0-1 to the good after only four minutes.


Fintan Kelly and Conor McShane exchanged quality points before a free from McManus closed the gap. Tiarnan McCann then got in a good block to deny Dermot Malone a goal before a long range McManus free left it a one point game. a superb Sludden score left two between he sides but it took a great block from Mattie Donnelly to deny Kelly a goal chance. McAliskey converted a brilliant free from distance underneath the Hogan Stand but McManus quickly cancelled that out rom another placed ball. Wing half back Tiarnan McCann then showed great energy to get forward to land an eye catching point for a 0-8 to 0-6 lead. Tyrone were on top but they kicked half a dozen balls short into the grateful arms of Monaghan keeper Beggan. A mistake from Kieran McGeary led to a Conor McCarthy point and moments later the same player made it 0-8 each at the break following a mistake from keeper Niall Morgan.


The opening to the second half was cagey before McAliskey edged Tyrone back in front with a wonderful effort from out on the right wing. A free from the same player then put Tyrone two in front before a well struck free from keeper Beggan opened Monaghan’s second half account. Tyrone substitute Lee Brennan converted a placed ball but Monaghan were proving difficult to shake off. McManus knocked over a free before substitute Kieran Hughes levelled matters with a fine effort from play in the 57th minute. With eight minutes to go a close in free from McManus put Monaghan in front for the first time in the contest and all the momentum appeared to be with them.


Two minutes later came the crucial score in the game when good work from Peter Harte and McCann saw the latter’s shot well blocked by Darren Hughes but Sludden reacted first to first time the ball to the net past Beggan. McManus and Harte exchanged points from frees before the latter cut in from the left wing to leave three between the sides. Monaghan though weren’t finished yet and it took an outstanding tackle from Cavanagh to prevent Monaghan substitute Jack McCarron from getting in on goal. Hughes them got his second point since his introduction and full back Drew Wylie landed s beauty from out on the left wing but Tyrone held out to reach the decider.


Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee; Tiarnan McCann, Mattie Donnelly, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Cathal McShane; Kieran McGeary, Niall Sludden, Frank Burns; Lee Brennan, Richie Donnelly, Connor McAliskey. Subs: Harry Loughran for Burns, Mark Bradley for Lee Brennan, Rory Brennan for McNamee, Conall McCann for R Donnelly, Ronan O’Neill for McAliskey, Declan McClure for McShane


Scorers: Niall Sludden 1-2, Connor McAliskey 0-4, Peter Harte 0-2, Cathal McShane 0-1, Colm Cavanagh 0-1, Frank Burns 0-1, Tiarnan McCann 0-1, Lee Brennan 0-1


Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Kieran Duffy, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Colin Walshe, Vinny Corey, Karl O’Connell; Darren Hughes, Niall Kearns; Fintan Kelly, Dermot Malone, Shane Carey; Conor McCarthy, Ryan McAnespie, Conor McManus. Subs: Dessie Mone for Malone, Kieran Hughes for Carey, Jack McCarron for Corey


Scorers: Conor McManus 0-7, Conor McCarthy 0-3, Kieran Hughes 0-2, Drew Wylie 0-1, Fintan Kelly 0-1, Rory Beggan 0-1


Referee: Anthony Nolan, Wicklow




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