Kevin Egan reports from Glennon Brothers Pearse Park
IT WAS COMFORTABLE, it was efficient, and it was far more commanding than the final four-point winning margin would suggest.
Tyrone’s performance in Longrod tonight wasn’t without flaws, but given the long history of talented sides travelling to this venue and seeing their championship hopes blown out of the water by a county known as a qualifier specialist, Mickey Harte will be quietly contented having seen his team negotiate this hurdle so professionally.
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To get a true picture of how dominant the Red Hand was here, consider that Longford posted 1-3 in second-half injury time to cut the lead from 10 points to four, at a time when it seemed as if the Ulster county were mentally in the showers and thinking about next weekend.
There was some hope of an upset among the home contingent within the 4,162 supporters that attended this game after the first minute, when Joseph Hagan dispossessed Tyrone and then set up Daniel Mimnagh for a point.
Cathal McShane on the attack.
Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO
For the rest of the half Longford didn’t score from play, Tyrone took advantage of two errors from Paddy Collum to poach two goals, and turnovers in possession were few and far between. Michael Cassidy, one of five players drafted in to start from the team that lined out against Donegal, got Tyrone off the mark with a lovely point on the run and Peter Harte followed up with two frees, chipped over either side of McShane’s first goal.
A weak kickout from Collum went straight to Niall Sludden and he fed McShane, whose first attempt was blocked by Donal McElligott before he found the net at the second attempt.
Longford settled into the game with a couple of frees from David McGivney, but they were rocked a second time just before the midway point in the half when Michael Cassidy hung in a high ball and Collum hesitated, allowing McShane to get a decisive touch and put seven points between the sides.
Longford run out for their team photo.
Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO
For their part, Tyrone will worry about their lack of forward penetration. 2-11 of their 2-15 total came from two players (Harte and McShane) with two more from substitute Ben McDonnell and a point each from defenders Hugh Pat McGeary and Adrian Cassidy. Put that another way – 11 Tyrone players at midfield and attack played nearly 400 minutes between them, without raising a flag. In the absence of a Longford goal threat however – and some great work in the air from Niall Morgan ensured there was little or none – meant that was never going to be an issue here though.
The home side did pick off some nice scores from distance through Colm P Smyth and Michael Quinn after half time, but Tyrone still kept them at arm’s length with little difficulty, moving ten clear when McDonnell came on to fire two late scores. That lead was savaged in injury time, but as late comebacks go, this one was entirely cosmetic.
Scorers for Tyrone: Peter Harte 0-9 (0-7 frees), Cathal McShane 2-2, Ben McDonnell 0-2, Michael Cassidy & Hugh Pat McGeary 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: David McGivney 0-4 frees, Colm P Smyth 0-3, Iarla O’Sullivan 1-0, Barry McKeon (0-1f) & Michael Quinn 0-2 each, Daniel Mimnagh, Joseph Hagan & Shane Kenny 0-1 each.
1 Niall Morgan
2 Hugh Pat McGeary
3 Ronan McNamee
4 Michael McKernan
5 Michael Cassidy
6 Kieran McGeary
7 Frank Burns
of the team
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8 Colm Cavanagh
9 Brian Kennedy
10 Matthew Donnelly
11 Niall Sludden
21 Declan McClure
13 Darren McCurry
14 Cathal McShane
12 Peter Harte
23 Ben McDonnell for Kennedy (HT)
25 Conor Meyler for Kieran McGeary (HT)
17 Rory Brennan for McKernan (42)
18 Kyle Coney for McClure (55)
19 Conor McAliskey for McCurry (55)
20 Conall McCann for Sludden (63)
1 Paddy Collum
2 Patrick Fox
6 Padraig McCormack
4 Barry O’Farrell
7 Darran Quinn
3 Donal McElligott
12 Michael Quinn
8 John Keegan
9 David McGivney
10 Gary Rogers
11 Barry McKeon
5 Colm P Smyth
13 Daniel Mimnagh
14 James McGivney
15 Joseph Hagan
19 Aidan McElligott for Rogers (42)
20 Darragh Doherty for O’Farrell (55)
21 Andrew Farrell for Keegan (56)
18 Shane Kenny for Mimnagh (66)
17 Mark Hughes for J McGivney (66)
25 Iarla O’Sullivan for Hagan (70+1)
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary)
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