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Red Hands See Off Mayo to Retain Division 1 Status

Sunday 25.10.2020
Team Talk Mag

Allian League Division 1
Mayo 1-19 Tyrone 3-14

If ever Tyrone needed a win it was today in Castlebar.  Defeat meant almost certain relegation but this is a team that you can never write off.

Two goals from the brilliant Conor McKenna and an excellent finish from Darragh Canavan set the foundation for the win.  Tyrone dominated the opening 35 minutes leading by some eight points at the break.  With the wind advantage in the second half Mayo came storming back into the contest but the Red Hands had enough to see out the contest.

McKenna’s second major though gave Tyrone the advantage that they needed and it took it all as they lost Conor Meyler to a black card for ten minutes and in the end there was just the minimum between the sides as Mayo make the drop to division two for 2021. Tyrone had a strong wind at their backs in the first half and they made very good use of it playing direct football on their way to establishing a healthy 2-9 to 0-7 interval advantage.

The home side opened the scoring through defender Paddy Durcan and after Tyrone missed a few chances the visitors had keeper Niall Morgan to thank for a superb save to deny Bryan Walsh. McKenna opened Tyrone’s account before Eoghan McLaughlin and Darren McCurry exchanged scores.  A free from Diarmuid O’Connor edged Mayo back in front but that was short lived as the returning Peter Harte notched the first of his three first half points. Tommy Conroy then cut inside a couple of defenders before splitting the posts but after a quarter of an hour it was all square again thanks to Harte.

Mayo then created a good goal chance but late replacement Darren Coen saw his shot fizz across the goalmouth and go wide. At that stage Tyrone took a firm grip on proceedings to dominate the remainder of the opening period.  Darragh Canavan, making his first NFL start, edged Tyrone in front before they struck for their first goal in the 22nd minute, a clinical finish to the roof of the net from McKenna after good work from Canavan and Mattie Donnelly.

Harte pointed with his right before the same player had a goal chance but blasted over. Tommy Conroy and Donnelly swapped points before a Darren Coen free closed the gap.  Tyrone though were looking the better side and an outstanding pass from McKenna picked out Canavan and he did the rest with a superb finish to the net in the 37th minute to leave the visitors well in control.  A Coen brace reduced the deficit on the restart before a fine long range strike from midfielder Matthew Ruane left just five between the sides. Kieran McGeary opened Tyrone’s second half account and when keeper David Clarke’s next kick out went straight to McKenna he made no mistake with his finish for his second goal of the afternoon.

Mayo though kept plugging away with Conor Loftus, Diarmuid O’Connor, Coen and Conroy all weighing in with points. Donnelly hit a great point for the Red Hands but in the 58th minute Mayo were back in business when Conroy grabbed a goal.  Tyrone then lost Meyler to a black card either side of points from Coen and James Durcan to leave things on a knife edge once again. Durcan converted a couple of frees with McKenna on target from a placed ball in response for a Tyrone side who got a perfect re4sult ahead of next weekend’s Ulster championship clash with Donegal in Ballybofey.

Mayo: D Clarke, O Mullen, S Coen, L Keegan, P Durcan (0-1), K McLoughlin, E McLuaghlin (0-1), M Ruane (0-1), C Loftus (0-1), D O’Connor (0-2, 1F), M Moran, B Walsh, T Conroy (1-3), A O’Shea, D Coen (0-5, 3F). Subs: R O’Donoghue (0-2, 1F) for Moran, F McDonagh for Walsh, J Durcan (0-3, 3F) for D Coen, P O’Hora for McLoughlin, P Towey for McLaughlin

Tyrone: N Morgan, L Rafferty, R McNamee, HP McGeary, T McCann, M O’Neill, M McKernan (0-1, 1M), B Kennedy, M Donnelly (0-2), K McGeary (0-1), C McKenna (2-2, 1F), D McCurry (0-4, 3F), P Harte (0-3), D Canavan (1-1), C Meyler. Subs:  F Burns for O’Neill, K Coney for Kennedy, N Sludden for HP McGeary, N Kelly for Canavan, R O’Neill for McCurry

Referee: N Cullen (Fermanagh)



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