Tyrone 1-17 Fingal 1-16

Updated: Saturday, 07 Jun 2014 17:15 | Comments

Tyrone emerge one-point winners against Fingal
Tyrone emerge one-point winners against Fingal

Tyrone won the Nicky Rackard Cup for the first time with a 1-17 to 1-16 win over Fingal at Croke Park.

Christopher Cross scrambled home a Tyrone goal in the 24th minute, but seven JM Sheridan points helped Fingal stay in touch.

Gerard Gilmore nudged the Red Hands into a 1-08 to 0-10 interval lead, and they controlled the second half, skipper Damien Casey and Gilmore hitting important scores.

Dave Smyth pulled back a stoppage-time Fingal goal, but Tyrone held on in a thrilling finish.

Tyrone sprinted into an early lead with scores from Casey, Gerard Gilmore and Tiernan Morgan.

But Dermot Vaughan and Niall Ring gradually got to grips with the Red Hand front men, and they began to offer a threat at the other end.

JM Sheridan, back in the side after missing the semi-final through injury, was their chief marksman, hitting their opening five points as they went level by the 23rd minute.

But Tyrone struck for a goal in the 24th minute. Morgan sent in a sideline cut which goalkeeper Hilary Murray Hession failed to hold, and Christopher Cross nipped in to finish to the net from close range.

Dave Smyth swept over a Fingal point, and Sheridan added another couple ot his mounting tally, but wind-assisted Tyrone were able to pick off points, with Casey and Gilmore hitting the target.

Morgan broke through to fire in a shot which Murray Hession kept out with a reflex save, but Fingal, with David Hattie and Paddy Sheridan driving their challenge, were growing as the half wore on.

Dean Kelly sprinted through for a tidy score, and Smyth landed a gem from close to the sideline to being the sides level.

Gilmore’s third score sent the Ulster men in with a slender 1-08 to 0-10 lead, and a couple of Casey efforts in the opening minute of the second half stretched the advantage.

Martin Grogan and Conor McNally kept things tight at the back for the Ulster men, frustrating their opponents with telling challenges.

Fingal managed just one point in the third quarter, scored by Sheridan from a free, while the Red Hands continued to find the range, Matthew Mulgrew and Conor Grogan both sweeping over stylish scores.

When Casey nailed his eighth score of the contest to bring his season’s tally to 58, Mattie Lennon’s men led by eight points, but they had to withstand a furious Fingal fightback.

Substitutes Colm Foley and Danny Butterley both found the target, and Sheridan added to his tally

And in stoppage time, they narrowed the gap to a single point when Smyth exploited a defensive error to pull back a goal.

But Tyrone held on for the narrowest of wins to complete the season unbeaten, having already won the NHL Division 3B title.

Fingal: H Murray Hession, P Coyne, N Ring, A Morris, B Kelly, D Vaughan, I Kennedy, D Hattie, P Sheridan, D Kelly (0-01), A Richardson, P Daly, C O’Flynn, S Smyth (1-02), JM Sheridan (0-10, 6f, 2 ’65).

Subs: D Buttlery (0-01) for Richardson, C Foley (0-01) for Kelly, C Foley for D Kelly

Tyrone: J Devlin, C McNally (0-01), R Devlin, M O’Gorman, M Grogan, S Donnelly, A Kelly, M Winters (0-01), G Fox, C Grogan (0-01), T Morgan (0-01), C Cross (1-00), M Mulgrew (0-01), D Casey (0-08, 4f), G Gilmore (0-4).

Subs: M Devlin for Winters, M Devlin for Winters, D Marshall for Gilmore

Referee: D O’Driscoll (Limerick).

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