Tyrone easily disposed of a desperately poor Offaly team in O’Connor Park this afternoon, eventually running out 1-27 to 0-8 victors in a farcically one sided contest.
The Red Hand county always looked comfortable in the first half, accumulating points at a rate of one every two minutes before Offaly finally got on the board after half an hour.
The midlanders were slightly improved in the second half but a Ronan O’Neill late goal ensured that Tyrone went on to record their biggest ever win in the history of the qualifiers.
Offaly lost four starters and several other panellists since they played Kildare in the Leinster Championship, but Tyrone too were shorn of several key players, so clearly the midlanders have to look a lot further than their absentee list in the quest to explain what went wrong today.
At no stage of this contest did it look like Offaly were likely to cause their opponents any problems. Every one of their forwards were tightly contained in the first half, while at the other end of the field it seemed as if the Tyrone attackers had all the time and space that they could possibly need, as evidenced by the fact that they had eighteen shots on goal in that period and converted fifteen of those chances.
Colm and Seán Cavanagh were imperious at midfield, forcing Emmet McDonnell to call Johnny Brickland ashore after just fifteen minutes and to follow that up by replacing Alan McNamee after half time.
And just as the battle for primary possession was being won by Tyrone, the visitors also dominated their opponents in the battle for turnovers. Time and again Offaly pushed forward, only to cough the ball up in the tackle and concede scores on the break.
Darren McCurry was Offaly’s main tormentor in the first half, notching five points from play and seven in total, but Matthew Donnelly, Conor McAliskey and Seán Cavanagh also kept the scoreboard moving.
Peter Cunningham opened Offaly’s account with a free in the 31st minute, but at 0-15 to 0-1 in arrears, the match was long decided before David McColdrick signalled for half time.
Tyrone picked up right where they left off in the second half and stretched that lead out to nineteen, 0-20 to 0-1, through points from Conor Clarke (twice), McCurry, Cavanagh and Ciarán McGinley.
At that stage the visitors stepped off the accelerator and Offaly began to create some scoring opportunities, including the game’s first goal chance.
Substitutes Dan Currams and Ciarán Hurley combined well but Hurley crashed his shot against the crossbar. Padraig Bracken could also have goaled midway through the half after a nice sidestep in front of goals, but he blasted the ball over the bar from fifteen yards out.
Tyrone’s inability to raise a green flag was probably Mickey Harte’s only concern at this point and they finally rectified that statistic with ten minutes remaining, substitute Ronan O’Neill rounding off a fine cameo with a neat low finish from ten yards out.
Again Offaly’s inability to hold the ball in the tackle was their downfall on this occasion and once Mark Donnelly forced them to cough up possession coming out of defence, they were badly outnumbered and the Red Hand men easily created and converted the chance.
Tyrone now advance to the second round of qualifiers, while for Offaly, little remains but to contemplate another desperately poor outing in the qualifiers and the long road that remains to be travelled back to footballing relevance.
Offaly: A Mulhall; S Sullivan, P McConway, B Darby (0-01); N Darby, D Hanlon, E Carroll; J Brickland, A McNamee; G Guilfoyle, P Cunningham (0-01, free), D Corbett; D Kelly, N McNamee, K Casey (0-04, 0-02 frees).
Subs: P Bracken (0-01) for Brickland (15 mins), C Hurley (0-01) for Guilfoyle (23), D Currams for Kelly (27), R Allen for A McNamee (40), W Mulhall for Carroll (49).
Tyrone: P McConnell; C McCarron, D McBride, R McKenna; C Clarke (0-02), P Harte, C Gormley; C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-06, 0-05 frees); Matthew Donnelly (0-03), C McGinley (0-01), Mark Donnelly (0-02); M Penrose, D McCurry (0-08, 0-03 frees), C McAliskey (0-02).
Subs: Joe McMahon for C Cavanagh (HT), R O’Neill (1-02) for McCurry (52), A Cassidy for Clarke (57), K Coney (0-01, free) for Penrose (60), J Lafferty for Matthew Donnelly (65).
Referee: David Coldrick
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