No National League final place for Tyrone

Thursday, 6 April 2017

TYRONE lost out on a place in the National League final as they went down by seven points to Kerry in their final league game.

Kerry ...1-21
Tyrone ...2-11

Killarney is always a difficult place for the Red Hands, and it proved so once again at the weekend.

They appeared to be on their way to a heavy beating, but a spirited second half display produced two goals, and Mickey Harte s side emerged from a sun-kissed tie with some credit.

The damage was done in the first half. We got off to a very poor start and in truth it was probably a damage limitation exercise after that, said midfielder Colm Cavanagh.

It was always going to be a tough ask to come to Killarney and get a result and we certainly made life a lot harder for ourselves conceding an early goal. You can t afford to do that against any side let alone a top team like Kerry.

But Tyrone performed with passion and pride in the second half as they chipped away at the deficit with the help of two Peter Harte goals.

We said at half-time that we had to go out and make a game of it and I felt that we did that at times in the second half and I think that we could have taken more scores as we got into good positions.

We would be happy with the second half but certainly not with the first half.

Cavanagh said Kerry must be given credit for the quality they brought to the contest.

You have to give Kerry credit for their display as well as they were very clinical, particularly in the first half when they missed nothing.

They really put us to the sword. We knew that it was going to be a massive ask to get a result after the way we had played in the first half.

Tyrone will go into their Ulster Championship clash with Derry on the back of three straight defeats, and Cavanagh says it s vital they use the time wisely in their preparations.

We have to now regroup and take a look at things that went wrong in the last three games and work on them and try and put them right, said Cavanagh.

Not for the first time this season, the potency of Tyrone s attack was called into question as they managed just two points from play, although they did end a goal drought with two Peter Harte strikes, one from a penalty.

We only got two points from play and that isn t good enough. Sometimes there are different factors as to why that happens such as good defending and wrong decision making.

We will look at that on video and try and work out why we aren t getting more scores from play because that is a big problem.

Next up is Derry in the championship and while that seems far away it won t be long slipping in. The club season starts next weekend so the games will be coming thick and fast but that is the way that you like it.


Tyrone were Division One leaders going into the second half of the campaign, but it all went wrong thereafter as they lost to Donegal, Mayo and Kerry.

Things were going so well for Tyrone after four games as they set at the summit of the division one table but it all went pear shaped in the last three outings.

It was a disappointing end to the league campaign for us as we had high hopes of reaching the final.

We began well but we always knew that we had tough fixtures left in the latter stages of the league and it just didn t work out for us.

The Red Hands got off to the worst possible start, conceding a goal with less than two minutes on the clock. David Moran picked out Michael Geaney with a clever pass, and the Dingle man beat Mickey O Neill with a low shot.

Tyrone failed to score from play while playing with the wind in the opening half, and it was Kerry who displayed all the attacking flair.

Donnchadh Walsh hit three excellent points from play, with Sean Cavanagh converting three Tyrone frees.

Paul Geaney converted five frees from five attempts, while Michael Geaney, Stephen O Brien and Barry John Keane tagged on points as the Munster men opened out a ten points lead.

Tyrone did carve a couple of goal chances, but Brendan Kealy saved well from Darren McCurry and Peter Harte, the latter adding a couple of frees late in the half.

At the break, Kerry led by 1-12 to 0-6, but Tyrone struck for a goal for only the second time in the current league campaign, Peter Harte collecting a Frank Burns pass to smash the ball to the roof of Kealy s net in the 44th minute.

Defenders Tadgh Morley and Paul Murphy found the space to push forward for scores, and the Kingdom had soon recovered from the concession of the goal.

Tyrone scored their first point from play in the 60th minute through substitute David Mulgrew, and in the 66th minute, they grabbed a second goal.

Ronan Shanahan, who had already been booked, was shown black and red for dragging down Frank Burns, and Kerry were down to 14 men, with referee Marty Duffy also awarding a penalty, which Harte netted.

But they were never going to overhaul Kerry s comfortable lead, and Walsh capped a superb personal performance with his sixth score from play.

Kerry scorers: Michael Geaney 1-2, Donnchadh Walsh, Paul Geaney (6 frees) 0-6 each, Barry John Keane, Bryan Sheehan (2 frees) 0-2 each, Tadhg Morley, Paul Murphy, Stephen O Brien 0-1 each.

Tyrone scorers: Peter Harte 2-4 (1-0 pen, 0-4 frees), Sean Cavanagh 0-5 (5 frees), David Mulgrew 0-2.


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