Tyrone prove a class above Kildare in Newbridge
Homeside outplayed in first half and fall short after rousing rally in the second
Doyle landed a quick free, O’Neill finally profited from O’Connor’s distribution and then Niall Kelly also found the target. When Doyle made it a one-point game on 42 minutes the place got very noisy.
Now, imagine how feral and crazy the town of Newbridge became when Paul Cribbin levelled it up a minute later. Everything had changed.
Even O’Neill shot a wide, but that usual Kildare inability to play the simple, quick pass crept back into their game. It led to Mark Donnelly soloing through their defence – a criminal offence that he was allowed get so far unchecked – until Emmet Bolton cleaned him out. Penalty. Up stepped O’Neill.
Surely that would be that.
Connolly parried the shot. Unreal.
We had ourselves a heavyweight slug-fest. Hammer blows started raining in from either side. It was also a spectacle of what Gaelic football has become. Running machines. Athletes at work.
In came Seánie Johnson. News had just filtered through that Cavan had beaten Derry and would probably face London for a place in the All-Ireland quarter-final. Meath were waiting whoever survived this madness.
It came down to who would blink first. History told us it would be Kildare.
Kelly’s second yellow card, for a foul on the classy Matthew Donnelly, allowed Tyrone to suck the life out of the last few minutes.
They had eased into a three-point lead thanks to Mark Donnelly, Cavanagh and Penrose.
Then Peter Harte appeared, gliding through the home defence, to sidefoot a pretty point.
O’Connor was pulled off and so was O’Neill but for the opposite reason. Tyrone’s old and new guard move on.
At the end some Kildare supporters, including an elderly woman, and despite the presence of three Gardaí, jostled referee McQuillan as he left the field.
Tyrone: P McConnell; A McCrory, C Clarke, C McCarron; R McKenna, P Harte, C Gormley; C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh; Matthew Donnelly, Joe McMahon, Mark Donnelly; D McCurry, S O’Neill, M Penrose. Substitutions: A Cassidy for C Cavanagh (42 mins), D Carlin for R McKenna (51 mins), K Coney for D McCurry (56 mins), C McAliskey for S O’Neill (68 mins), Justin McMahon for C McCarron (69 mins)
Kildare: S Connolly; D Hyland, P Kelly, H McGrillen; E Bolton, M O’Flaherty, Daniel Flynn; Daryl Flynn, P O’Neill; E O’Flaherty, P Brophy, E Callaghan; N Kelly, T O’Connor, J Doyle. Substitutions: P Cribbin for Daniel Flynn (19 mins), S Hurley for E Callaghan (35 mins), S Johnson for P O’Neill (55 mins), A Smith for N Kelly (57 mins), E Doyle for T O’Connor (64 mins)
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).