Tyrone Masters lost narrowly to a very talented Dublin team on Saturday at Drumlish but they will know they came very close to causing a huge upset in their All Ireland Final clash.
This Dublin team is laced with quality but they left the field on Saturday knowing that they had been in a real battle with the Red Hands. Goalkeeper Kieran Leonard, who made several outstanding saves, defenders Gerard Mc Williams and Terry Donnelly, midfield pair Eamon Mc Elroy and Eoin Gormley as well as forwards Liam Patterson, Conrad Quinn and Damien Mc Crory were superb for Joe Leonard’s team as they carried the fight to their much vaunted opponents especially in the second half.
Dublin raced into an early four point lead with a point from Ray Cosgrove and a goal from the boot of Cormac Smith. Tyrone looked rattled but a Conrad Quinn free helped settle the early nerves. Dublin forward Niall Crossan showed his worth to his side with four fine points but scores from Liam Patterson and Eoin Gormley followed by another Conrad Quinn free kept Tyrone in the hunt.
Dublin made continuous switches and substitutions throughout the first half which ensured they had plenty of fresh legs in and around the central third. The Tyrone defence struggled to cope with this constant changing of personnel which helped the Dubs reach the break five clear on a score of 1-8 to 0-6.
The pace of the game remained high after the restart as the teams swapped early scores. With twelve minutes of the second half gone Tyrone’s persistence was rewarded when Damien Patton pounced on a spilled ball to finish to the net and reduce the gap to two.
The Dubs responded like champions however with three scores from the boot of Niall Crossan and a fine 45 from Johnny Mc Nally. By this stage Tyrone had been reduced to fourteen men when corner back Kevin Mc Cabe received a straight red card.
With a man advantage and a five point lead it looked as if Dublin would shut up shop and ease to the title but Tyrone showed tremendous resolve to finish the game strongly and cause pandemonium in the Dublin defence in the closing stages.
A couple of well placed high balls resulted in points for the Red Hands as Ryan Mc Callion, Conor Starrs and Adrian Harley asked serious questions of the Dublin rearguard.
Sadly for Tyrone time ran out and the Dubs held on to win by two on a final score line of 1-14 to 1-12.