Tyrone withstood a strong second-half comeback by Wexford to book a place against Kerry in the All-Ireland SFC final following a six-point win.

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Tyrone withstood a strong second-half comeback by Wexford to book a place against Kerry in the All-Ireland SFC Final following a six-point win.

Eight Tyrone players were on target in the first half as they took a comfortable 0-14 to 0-06 interval lead, with Sean Cavanagh kicking four points.

However the influential attacker was replaced 14 minutes into the second half after picking up an injury, as Wexford crept back into contention.

The loss of Mattie Forde through an Achilles injury at half-time threatened to derail the ambitions of Jason Ryan’s side, who were seeking a first All-Ireland final appearance since 1918.

Ciarán Lyng led the charge, to ensure just two-points separated the sides with 19 minutes remaining, as he added 1-05 to his side’s tally in the third quarter.

Lyng’s 49th minute goal was a well struck shot as he left four Tyrone players in his wake, before slotting past keeper John Devine.

However Tyrone remained composed to hang on to the lead, and book a first All-Ireland final spot since 2005.

A battle hardened Wexford may have been on target with the opening score of the contest after just a minute, as Ciarán Lyng sent over the first of his seven points within a minute; but points from Philip Jordan and Sean Cavanagh propelled Tyrone into a 0-02 to 0-01 lead by the fifth minute, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Despite Enda McGinley and Wexford captain Colm Morris trading scores, a ninth minute point from Tyrone skipper Brian Dooher began an unbroken sequence of eight points in succession for Tyrone, as they built up a 0-11 to 0-02 lead by the 25th minute.

Wexford’s defence was simply left mesmerised by the brilliance of the Tyrone attack, but in reality the Red Hands’ ability to capitalise on the wide gaps left by the Slaneysiders rear-guard also proved to be a major blow.

Jordan added his second point of the day, before points from defender Ryan McMenamin, Martin Penrose, Colm McCullough (2), Sean Cavanagh and Tommy McGuigan ensured five of Tyrone’s starting forwards were now on target, along with Midfielder Philip Jordan and defender McMenamin.

Wexford’s first score in 17 minutes then arrived from the boot of half-back Adrian Morrissey, and although the defender had his score quickly cancelled out by Enda McGinley, Wexford remained composed, outscoring Tyrone by 0-03 to 0-02 in the final seven minutes of the first half.

Scores from Sean Cavanagh and Tommy McGuigan, ensuring Tyrone held a 0-14 to 0-06 interval lead.

Wexford were dealt a major blow in the dressing room at the interval, following news of Mattie Forde’s injury, but his direct replacement Shane Roche scored on the restart, to help settle the semi-final newcomers.

Manager Jason Ryan didn’t need to give his side an extra kick in the second half, as Wexford were obviously inspired by Forde’s absence, with his fellow players turning a negative into a positive; now eager more than ever to reach a first All-Ireland decider in 90 years.

And this certainly showed on the pitch, with Ciarán Lyng now in flying form, shooting from all angles and fully deserving of his 49th minute goal, after he totally carved through the Tyrone defence, slicing the ball to the net, with the deficit now just at three points.

But Wexford’s second half resurgence was merely a false dawn, as Tyrone’s experience and determination shone through once more with McCullagh, Penrose, and defenders Ryan McMenamin and Davy Harte on target.

Fittingly, veteran captain Brian Dooher took his side’s final point as Tyrone booked a spot in their third All-Ireland final this decade, seeking a third ever crown – can they strike Gold once again? It’s the Kingdom who stand in their way.

Tyrone: J Devine; R McMenamin (0-2), Justin McMahon, C Gourley; D Harte (0-1), C Gormley, P Jordan (0-3); C Holmes; E McGinley (0-1); B Dooher (0-2), M Penrose (0-3), Joe McMahon; T McGuigan (0-3, 1f), S Cavanagh (0-4, 2f), C McCullagh (0-4, 2f).

Substitutes: B McGuigan for S Cavanagh (50); K Hughes for Holmes (51); O Mulligan for B McGuigan (BS 70); C Cavanagh for McCullagh (70+1)

Wexford: A Masterson; D Walsh, P Wallace (0-1), B Malone; A Morrissey (0-1), D Murphy, C Morris (0-2); E Bradley, B Doyle; PJ Banville (0-1), R Barry, C Byrne; C Lyng (1-7, 3f), P Colfer (0-1), M Forde.

Substitutes: C Deely for Byrne (32); S Roche (0-1) for Forde (HT); N Murphy for Morrissey (43) (inj); A Flynn (0-1) for Colfer (60)

Referee: Pat McEnaney (Monaghan)