Tyrone 3-11 Down 0-12

Updated: Saturday, 24 May 2014 23:26 | Comments

Tyrone's Darren McCurry with Down's Declan Rooney
Tyrone's Darren McCurry with Down's Declan Rooney

Tyrone got the better of Down by 3-11 to 0-12 in their Pairc Esler Ulster SFC preliminary replay.

Ciaran McGinley’s goal helped Tyrone to a six-points lead, but points from Conor Laverty, Donal O’Hare and Dan Gordon narrowed the gap to two at the break

McGinley netted a second goal, and Peter Harte drilled home a penalty to give the Red Hands a crack at provincial champions Monaghan next month.

Donal O’Hare top-scored for Down with six points, while Aidan Carr had a penalty saved by Niall Morgan.

High drama in the opening 30 seconds saw referee Cormac Reilly award a penalty for Peter Harte’s foul on Conor Maginn, but Aidan Carr blasted the kick straight at Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan, who saved comfortably.

Conor Laverty and Ronan O’Neill traded early scores, before Darren McCurry and goalkeeper Niall Morgan eased Tyrone 0-03 to 0-01 ahead with placed balls.

Harte charged through for a goal chance, but blazed his shot over the bar as the Red Hands continued to take the game to the home side.

The Red Hands did nail a goal in the 23rd minute. The ball fell kindly for Ciaran McGinley as he attempted to control Sean Cavanagh’s delivery through the middle, but the Errigal Ciaran man’s soccer-style finish was precision, beating Brendan McVeigh just inside the post.

Morgan drilled a 50m free through the uprights to give a further lift to rising Tyrone confidence and a six-points cushion.

But Down responded with two points in the space of a minute from Laverty and Conor Maginn, and Dan Gordon, a surprise starter in midfield, cut the deficit to three.

O’Hare’s stoppage-time point made it a productive finish to the half for a Down side that went in trailing by 1-06 to 0-07.

Tyrone led by 1-06 to 0-07, and McGinley’s second goal just 40 seconds into the second half had them firmly back in the driving seat.

Stephen O’Neill, into the game as a half-time substitute, fed Darren McCurry, whose pass picked out McGinley in space on the right, and he gave McVeigh no chance with a bullet-like finish to the far corner of the net.

Ronan McNabb denied Gordon a goal with a superb tackle as Down desperately tried once again to trim back a six points deficit, but Tyrone also came close when Cavanagh smacked a shot against the crossbar.

Benny Coulter came off the bench to lift the home side with an inspirational point, and O’Hare clipped over another free.

But Down were rocked back on their heels by a third Tyrone goal, the fourth penalty of this two-game sequence.

Ronan McNabb was tugged back by Kevin McKernan as he reached for Niall McKenna’s cross, and Harte drilled home the kick.

Mattie Donnelly’s point gave them a nine-points cushion, and Down’s challenge was finally ended.

Both sides struck the woodwork, Jerome Johnston and Harte denied goals by a post, and while O’Hare brought his tally to six with a couple of frees, there was to be no denying the Red Hands.

Down: B McVeigh, D McCartan, B McArdle, R Boyle, D Rooney, A Carr, C Garvey (0-01), D Gordon (0-01), J Johnston, C Maginn (0-01), M Poland, K McKernan, D O’Hare (0-06, 4f), N Madine, C Laverty (0-02).

Subs: B Coulter (0-01) for Carr (44), R Johnston for Madine (47), A Rogers for J Johnston (59), D Turley for Gordon (63)

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-03, 2f, 1 ’45), A McCrory, J McMahon, R McNamee, R McNabb, M Donnelly (0-01), P Harte (1-01, 1-0 pen), C Cavanagh, C Clarke, E McKenna, S Cavanagh, C McGinley (2-01), D McCurry (0-02, 2f), R O’Neill (0-01), K Coney.

Subs: S O’Neill for McKenna (h-t), C Gormley for McNamee (h-t), N McKenna (0-01)for Coney (50), M Penrose for McCurry (63), C McAliskey (0-01) for R O’Neill (67), D McBride for Donnelly (68)

Referee: C Reilly (Meath).

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