The Tyrone senior hurlers made it two wins from two starts in Division Four of the National Hurling League, when they emerged four point winners over South Down in a six goal thriller, at Leitrim this afternoon.
Both teams defied their low league status to serve up a feat of action that contained everything good about hurling and, while the Mourne men were disappointed at losing manager Ronan Sheehan and company will take great heart from such a rousing and battling performance.
James McGrath, Michael McCartan, Paul McAleenan, Liam Morgan and Eoin Donnelly led the Down challenge on a day Tyrone had sterling contributions from Jason Patton, Sean Paul Begley, Aidan Kelly and Cathal McErlean.
It was honours even at the break after Down staged a great fight back just when Tyrone appeared to be assuming control. McErlean and Kelly were among the visiting points before Conor Grugan slotted home a penalty to punish a foul on Justin Kelly. Moments later Rory O’Neill pulled on a loose ball to send past South Down keeper Gary McMullan, but Down refused to buckle. Malachy Magee powered through to bulge the net and, then Eoin Donnelly grabbed a second as the teams remained level 2-8 apiece at half time. Michael Cunningham having landed three excellent first half points for the hosts.
The nip and tuck scenario continued throughout the second period before two substitutes gave their respective teams a boost. Arthur McGuinness and Tyrone’s Mike O’Gorman adding some much needed leadership to their respective challenges. Eoin McGuinness had a goal disallowed before Aidan Kelly found the net to end the game as a contest. Liam Morgan, who finished the game with a 1-5 tally sent a close range free to the net, but it was the visitors, who were celebrating a deserving victory, as their league challenge gathers momentum.