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Tyrone Get Their League Campaign Off To A Winning Start

Saturday 02.02.2013
Team Talk Mag
Club


Tyrone travelled to the Marshes on Saturday night and came away with a three point win after a game that was both exciting and entertaining. Down will wonder just how it all went wrong for them after they had bossed the first half but only managed to score twice during a feisty second thirty five minutes. Tyrone recovered from a slow start and the loss of Joe Mc Mahon to two yellow cards to record a hard fought but deserved win.

Down had obviously studied Tyrone’s display against Monaghan last week closely and caused the Red Hands quite a few problems in the opening half. Donal O’Hare’s accuracy from frees and the powerful running of wing back Ryan Mallon had Mickey Harte’s team struggling for long periods. Benny Coulter had the chance to put Down six in front late in the first half but was denied by a great block by Cathal Mc Carron. Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan showed his worth with a strong display of kicking which also produced two fine points from frees but overall Tyrone were second best throughout the half as they failed to find the pace and drive they had displayed last week against Monaghan.

The half time whistle saw Tyrone go in at the break 0-7 to 0-5 behind. Manager Mickey Harte must have been disappointed with his team’s work rate and approach but they were a different side in the second half. Stevie O’Neill scored after seventeen seconds and there was a greater pace and intensity in their play. Sub Conor Clarke produced a huge second half and with a bit more composure could well have finished top scorer. A great team goal from Mark Donnelly put Tyrone three ahead but Down responded immediately with a goal of their own to level the game once again. It was nip and tuck and with Tyrone reduced to fourteen men following Joe Mc Mahon’s second yellow many would have fancied Down to go on and win this one. However Tyrone showed all their experience and quality with Peter Harte, Mark and Mattie Donnelly, Ryan Mc Kenna and Sean Cavanagh leading the way.

Team captain Stevie O’Neill hit two wonder points as Tyrone ensured the league season got off to the best possible start. Tyrone introduced Ronan O’Neill for his first run out of the year and closed the game out to win 1-11 to 1-8. Such was the competitive nature of the fixture that tempers became somewhat frayed as the referee, who had a difficult night throughout, sounded the end of the game. The Red Hands can now look forward to a trip to Castlebar next weekend for a tussle with the 2012 All Ireland beaten finalists Mayo. That promises to be another difficult assignment at a venue where Tyrone have struggled to win in recent years.

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