McCurry goal seals impressive Tyrone win over 14-man Kildare

Tyrone 2-22
Kildare 1-15

Fintan O’Toole reports from Newbridge

SIX MINUTES FROM the close of normal time, Tyrone could relax in the knowledge that another qualifier hurdle was about to be surmounted and feel content that they are within striking distance of the Super 8s once more.

That was when Conor Meyler and Michael McKernan pieced together a move that cut open the Kildare defence with the ball popped across invitingly for Darren McCurry to palm to the net. 2-17 to 1-13 clear at that juncture, Mickey Harte’s outfit were never going to be caught and had ten to spare by the final whistle.

Tyrone upped the ante whenever required in the St Conleth’s Park sunshine for this Round 3 encounter. They turned a three-point interval advantage into a six-point buffer by the 43rd minute. Peter Harte, Mattie Donnelly and Frank Burns ventured forward to kick points when it mattered. Cathal McShane was a constant thorn in the side of the Kildare rearguard.

Midway through the second half, McShane gathered on the left wing, burned past Mick O’Grady and was dragged down by the Kildare defender as he approached goal. That foul confirmed his second yellow card offence of the game. O’Grady’s red card and McShane popping over the resultant free left Kildare six in arrears while chasing the game with 14 men. It was always going to be a tough task.

Tyrone’s presence in this qualifier stemmed from reversal to Donegal in the Ulster semi-final, an outcome that has clouded their 2019 summer results. They landed in Newbridge and went about their business in a brisk fashion from the off. 1-2 was posted on the board before Kildare get off the mark and Mattie Donnelly’s 18th minute point had them flying high with a six-point advantage.

The speed and accuracy of Niall Morgan’s kickouts placed them on the front foot. McShane shone as a focal point close to goal, his swift hands transferring passes for three opening half points. Michael Cassidy bombed forward from wing-back early on and drilled home a 6th minute shot to the net after Niall Sludden spied the Ardboe man in space.

For Kildare this was the sixth game of an eventful championship run. They had already packed in a trio of wins, a pulsating draw with Longford and suffered one of the customary beatings that Dublin hand out in Leinster. 

This game started in an unpromising manner for the locals that had filed into St Conleth’s Park. They watched their side struggle in the sunshine in the opening stages but the mood brightened approaching the break. Trailing 1-9 to 1-6 at the interval was a good outcome considering how the match had unfolded.

Fergal Conway goes up against Niall Sludden.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Fergal Conway lead the fight for them. He was a battering ram from midfield, capable of breaking the defensive barrier Tyrone erected and applying the finishing touch when required. Conway struck over three lovely points from play in the first half and was at the heart of the 31st move that then featured Peter Kelly, Keith Cribbin and finally Kevin Feely, excellent throughout, who crashed in a shot to the net with his left.

Tyrone raced from the blocks after the break with Feely, Conway and Adam Tyrrell doing their best to rouse Kildare. But that deficit never looked like being bridged and they bowed out of the 2019 race a year after seeing off Mayo in memorable fashion at this stage.

Scorers for Tyrone: Peter Harte 0-7 (0-3f), Darren McCurry 1-2, Cathal McShane 0-5 (0-2f), Matthew Donnelly 0-3, Michael Cassidy 1-0, Frank Burns 0-2, Rory Brennan, Colm Cavanagh, Connor McAliskey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kildare: Kevin Feely 1-2, Adam Tyrrell 0-5 (0-4f), Fergal Conway, Neil Flynn (0-2f) 0-3 each, Peter Kelly, Tommy Moolick 0-1 each. 


1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

4. Rory Brennan (Trillick)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran)
2. Hugh Pat McGeary (Pomeroy)

5. Michael Cassidy (Ardboe)
6. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)
7. Frank Burns (Pomeroy)

8. Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
9. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan)

10. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick – captain)
11. Niall Sludden (Dromore)
15. Conor Meyler (Omagh)

12. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran)
14. Cathal McShane (Owen Roes)
13. Darren McCurry (Edendork)


24. Ben McDonnell (Errigal Ciarán) for Kennedy (black card) (22)
25. Michael McKernan (Coalisland) for Kieran McGeary (55)
20. Connor McAliskey (Clonoe) for Sludden (60)
17. Kyle Coney (Ardboe) for McCurry (65)
26. Ciaran McLaughlin (Omagh) for Hugh Pat McGeary (71)
23. Aidan McCrory (Errigal Ciarán) for Cassidy (71)


1. Mark Donnellan (Maynooth)

2. Mark Dempsey (Moorefield)
3. Mick O’Grady (Celbridge)
4. Peter Kelly (Two Mile House)

5. Cian O’Donoghue (Clane)
6. Eoin Doyle (Naas – captain)
7. David Hyland (Athy)

8. Kevin Feely (Athy)
9. Fergal Conway (Celbridge)

10. David Slattery (Confey)
11. Chris Healy (Two Mile House)
12. Keith Cribbin (Johnstownbridge)

13. Adam Tyrrell (Moorefield)
14. Ben McCormack (Sarsfields)
15. Neil Flynn (Maynooth)


18. Jimmy Hyland (Ballyteague) for McCormack (inj) (11)
17. Tommy Moolick (Leixlip) for Cribbin (49)
24. Mark Barrett (Ballymore) for Healy (52)
19. Eoghan O’Flaherty (Carbury) for Slattery (60)
23. Kevin O’Callaghan (Celbridge) for Flynn (64)
22. Cathal McNally (Johnstownbridge) for Hyland (68)

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

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