Still a long way to go for Tipperary as Tyrone show their class

Mickey Harte’s side run riot in the second half as Premier challenge evaporates

Tyrone 0-19 Tipperary 0-7

In Semple stadium, of all places, Tipperary's promising football summer ended with a 0-12 to 0-1 second half blitz.

"We are a bit like the Dublin hurlers, the Tipperary footballers, we are making progress," said Peter Creedon, who immediately stepped down as manager in the wake of a disappointing performance.

Earlier in the day Tyrone travellers gathered around the historic site of Hayes Hotel. Enjoying this trip to hurling’s capital, they swelled the Kinane stand with the official capacity of 4,620 not including children.

After this embarrassing spectacle the local youth will pick up their hurleys again. The Colin O’Riordan situation leaves little doubt about which sport holds sway. A football All Star nominee last season, O’Riordan played under-21 hurling championship against Limerick the Thursday night before this Saturday game.


Hornet’s nest

“(O’Riordan’s) legs probably went in the second half but he is under-21, all players should be playing in their grade,” said Creedon who also believes “fellas will have to play nothing but football and park everything else” if they are to ever transfer underage success to senior.

“I’m not going to stir any hornet’s nest now but the likes of Tyrone and Kerry, the top football teams, that’s their sole concentration,” he added before highlighting the real problem:

“We’ve a mix of players stuck in colleges and club hurling championships. It’s not an excuse for today but going forward we need to maintain the players’ energies a little bit better so we can work on their fitness and conditioning.”

Until Tipp faded so miserably, we had the makings of a genuine contest here. Seán Cavanagh, who passed Conor Gormley’s county record with this 76th championship outing, and Darren McCurry made early advances down the left flank to build a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

The black stripe down Steven O’Brien’s left hamstring was seemingly enough to keep him upright while O’Riordan was certainly not the colossus seen last May when Tyrone squeezed past Tipp to capture the U-21 All-Ireland. A bad feeling hung in the air that night.

Afterwards Tipperary officials denied the Tyrone manager Fergal Logan entry to the losing dressingroom. The same animosity reappeared on the stroke of half-time as the Tipperary management avoided a tunnel brawl by keeping their players on the field until Mickey Harte’s men disappeared.

Always Tyrone. Such a shame when you see the quality of footballer at their disposal.

And see it we did, primarily through the magnificent Peter Harte, who abandoned his defensive activity to fly forward and point. Alan Campbell broke up two more attacks off Cavanagh but the five-time All Star was not to be denied, finishing off some patient yet rapid Tyrone play to make it 0-6 to 0-4.

Harte's brilliant second score made it 0-7 to 0-4 before two Kevin O'Halloran's frees brought it back to the minimum. Then we entered that period of ambiguous violence. When the mauling and bile abated, Meath referee David Gough yellow-carded Peter Acheson, Joe McMahon, O'Brien and Cathal McCarron.

The plot

"I was very happy with our players and how disciplined they were,"said Mickey Harte. "It's not easy sometimes whenever these schemozzles, as people call them, get started. People can lose the plot and lose their place on the team. In fact, far from distracting our players it maybe galvanised them."

Harte was asked if Tyrone are more sinned against than sinners?

“That’s for others to judge. We obviously would be biased, wouldn’t we? But I think there is something in that, yeah.”

There followed the best of them as Conor McAliskey and Darren McCurry came to life to share four points all within 10 minutes of the throw-in. Then, after Colm Cavanagh won clean possession deep in his own territory, the snoozing Tipperary defence gave McCurry a sight of goal. He aimed for the top corner, and missed, but the point put Tyrone six clear.

Mattie Donnelly sauntered forward for 0-3. It was bloodless stuff as Tipperary discipline crumbled. O'Brien was replaced by Liam Casey who lasted two minutes before being sent off for stamping on Colm Cavanagh. They also finished with seven yellows and one black card.

“I’ve no doubt the breakthrough will come,” Creedon added. “It’s about hard work, there is no formula for it, hunger is a great sauce.

TYRONE: 1 Niall Morgan; 2 Aidan McCrory, 3 Ronan McNamee, 4 Cathal McCarron; 10 Tiernan McCann, 6 Joe McMahon, 5 Ronan McNabb; 8 Colm Cavanagh, 9 Mattie Donnelly (0-3); 11 Mark Bradley, 7 Peter Harte (0-2), 24 Conor Meyler; 13 Darren McCurry (0-5, three frees), 14 Seán Cavanagh (0-3), 15 Conor McAliskey (0-5, three frees). Subs: 18 Jason Lonergan for C Sweeney (39 mins), 21 Conall McCann (0-1) for D McCurry 26 Barry Tierney for C Meyler (58 mins), 17 Conor Clarke for C Cavanagh, 25 Ronan O'Neill for M Bradley (both 60 mins), 22 Pádraig McNulty for P Harte (63 mins), 23 Conor McShane for C McAliskey (66 mins).

TIPPERARY: 1 Evan Comerford; 7 Alan Campbell, 3 Paddy Codd, 2 Ciarán McDonald; 5 Séamus Kennedy, 23 Robbie Kiely (0-1), 10 Brian Fox; 6 Peter Acheson, 8 Colin O'Riordan; 17 Ger Mulhair, 26 Steven O'Brien, 15 Philip Austin; 13 Kevin O'Halloran (0-5, four frees, 45), 14 Michael Quinlivan (0-1), 11 Conor Sweeney. Subs: 12 Liam Casey for S O'Brien (53 mins), 19 Barry Grogan for P Austin (55 mins), 4 Jimmy Feehan for C McDonald (58 mins, bc), 22 Brian Mulvihill for C O'Riordan (64 mins), 20 Colm Shaughnessy for G Mulhair (66 mins).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent