Connolly kicks Dublin into the semi-finals

Long-range score from Dublin forward earns place in the Division One semi-finals

Tyrone’s Mark Donnelly closes down  Bryan Cullen of Dublin. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

Tyrone’s Mark Donnelly closes down Bryan Cullen of Dublin. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

 

Tyrone 1-15 Dublin 3-10

Diarmuid Connolly’s superb last-minute point - twisting and turning in heavy traffic before somehow getting the shot away -proved the difference between Dublin and Tyrone in Healy Park, Omagh this afternoon.

Despite a blitzkrieg start that yielded 2-1 within the opening five minutes for the holders, the home team rallied and took the match all the way to the wire, as Dublin struggled to survive with 14 men after full back Rory O’Carroll had been shown a second yellow card with more than five minutes left.

Tyrone needed only to draw and for the first time of the afternoon in the 70th minute Mattie Donnelly - transferred from centre back to attack in the second half - hoisted a great point to tie the match at 1-15 to 3-9 and apparently condemn the Allianz Football League holders to missing this year’s play-offs.

But the Dublin captain’s late intervention saved the day for the All-Ireland champions.

Within 30 seconds James McCarthy had cut through to lob the ball over Niall Morgan in the Tyrone goal. In less than a minute it was two when Jason Whelan - one a raft of late, unannounced changes on the Dublin team - had converted after a good run and pass from Michael Macauley.

Connolly added a free and to make bad worse for Mickey Harte’s team, full back Ronan McNamee was shown a black card for the foul that led to it.

Darren McCurry was Tyrone’s only point of resistance in the first quarter, kicking three points but by that stage they trailed by three goals, as Macauley had been picked out by Kevin McManamon in space and finished to the net for Dublin’s third.

Tyrone came back into the match in the second quarter although they were kicking a lot of wides into a strong, swirling breeze, and out-scored Dublin by 0-4 to 0-1 in the run-up to the break.

Seán Currie, standing in for the suspended Stephen Cluxton, made a good save just before the break to deny Seán Cavanagh at the cost of a 45, which the reliable Niall Morgan converted.

The second half was the story of a reducing balance. Tyrone didn’t altogether sure their wastefulness but Dublin tuned for nearly quarter of an hour after Connolly had kicked an early free.

Tyrone tightened up considerably and the tracts of space that Dublin had exploited were fenced in. Morgan kicked reliably from the tee and the margin was down to two, 0-12 to 3-5.

Dublin lived on scraps but eked out enough from Alan Brogan and Philip Mcmahon to stay ahead. McManamon nearly had a goal but Aidan McCrory saved on the line and Morgan blocked the rebound.

On the hour the match swung towards Tyrone when referee Marty Duffy awarded a penalty for Currie bringing down Shay McGuigan. Curiously Duffy showed no card to the ‘keeper but Harte converted expertly to cut the margin to two - 1-12 to 3-8.

In a helter-skelter closing 10 minutes, replacement Ronan O’Neill kicked two frees, O’Carroll got his marching orders for a second yellow despite appearing to have executed a legitimate tackle and Mattie Donnelly looked to have completed the great escape before Connolly’s decisive intervention.

Dublin: S Currie; J Cooper, R O’Carroll, P McMahon (0-1); J McCarthy (1-0), K Nolan, J McCaffrey; MD Macauley (1-0), T Brady; J Whelan (1-1), D Connolly (capt; 0-5, four frees), B Cullen (0-1); K McManamon (0-1), E O’Gara, A Brogan (0-1). Subs: Davy Byrne for Brady (44 mins), P Andrews for Cullen (44 mins), N Devereux for McCaffrey (44 mins), C Costello for A Brogan (57 mins),.

Tyrone : N Morgan (0-3, two frees, one 45); A McCrory, R McNamee, R McKenna; C McGinley, Matthew Donnelly (0-1), P Harte (1-1, goal a penalty); C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (capt; 0-1); E McKenna, S McGuigan, Mark Donnelly (0-1); D McCurry (0-6, four frees), K Coney, C McAliskey. Subs: M Penrose for E McKenna (23mins), R O’Neill (0-2, frees) for Coney (half-time), C Gormley for McAliskey (57 mins), D Carlin for McGinley (61 mins), N McKenna for McGuigan (66 mins).

Black card : D McBride for McNamee (4 mins)

Referee : Marty Duffy (Sligo).

Attendance : 9,327

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