/ GAA

Tyrone 0-15 Mayo 0-13

Updated: Sunday, 13 Apr 2008 23:18

Enda McGinley tries to evade Mayo's Keith Higgins in Omagh this afternoon Pascal McConnell saves Andy Moran's penalty
Enda McGinley tries to evade Mayo's Keith Higgins in Omagh this afternoon Pascal McConnell saves Andy Moran's penalty

Tyrone ensured NFL Division 1 football for next season as they held off a fast-finishing Mayo side at Healy Park this afternoon.

With Colm McCullagh and Sean Cavanagh causing havoc in a two-man full-forward line, the Red Hands had a 0-08 to 0-05 advantage at half-time.

Mayo could have been on level terms but Andy Moran's penalty was saved by Pascal McConnell after the Tyrone goalkeeper had fouled Conor Mortimer.

While Mortimer spearheaded a Mayo revival, three more points from Tommy McGuigan steered Tyrone home.

This match-up was fifth against sixth in the top flight and the Red Hands were gunning for a win to guarantee their league status, thus putting Kildare down to Division 2 for next year.

That is exactly how it played out as Tyrone managed to bounce back from last weekend's defeat to Derry, while Mayo, although competitive throughout, paid the price for some missed goal chances.

Tyrone welcomed back Brian McGuigan, the two-timme All-Ireland winner, into their side for his first start in two years.

The playmaker of old, back in the panel after recovering from serious leg and eye injuries, put in an impressive 70-minute display.

McGuigan's showing actually outweighed the result for Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, who admitted afterwards that it was 'vintate McGuigan.'

In a late switch, Harte brought in Damien McCaul for Justin McMahon at full-back, while Mayo's only change saw Aidan Campbell start in the half-forwards in place of Pat Harte.

Mayo looked sharp in the early stages with Mortimer landing two frees, sandwiching a point from play from Sean Cavanagh.

A Colm McCullagh free in the 12th-minute brought the sides level and the game turned in Tyrone's favour thereafter.

They began to dominate around the 20-minute mark and points from McCullagh, Davey Harte and Cavanagh transferred that dominance to the scoreboard.

The pick of their first half points was an excellently drilled effort from the left from Tommy McGuigan.

Cavanagh missed out on a goal when Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke was equal to his effort and the first half's only other goal-scoring opportunity fell to Moran.

Mayo were awarded a penalty after Mortimer collected a through ball from Austin O'Malley and the DCU student was fouled by McConnell as he advanced forward.

It was a harsh decision as it looked like Mortimer had stumbled but McConnell redeemed himself, nonetheless, by tipping the Mayo full-forward's spot kick around the post.

Mayo did grab two late points to close the gap to three points by the interval. O'Malley and Tom Parsons brought a long scoreless spell for the visitors.

Tyrone moved 0-10 to 0-05 ahead just after the restart as Sean Cavanagh (36 minutes) and Enda McGinley (38) picked off points.

Mayo stopper Clarke managed to beat away an effort from Tommy McGuigan, after an incisive pass from Raymie Mulgrew, and Tyrone's attack was continuing to cause an amount of problems.

McGuigan played another free between the posts for a 0-11 to 0-05 score-line and Harte's side were closing in on victory.

Mortimer rallied his side with two points, although the first could have been turned into a goal had he had some support.

Tom Parsons, Mortimer and substitute Mark Ronaldson added to their side's tally but the game had a rather flat finish as Tyrone eased up with their hard work already done.

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