Tyrone take their chance at second time of asking
Ciaran McGinley grabs two goals as Down well beaten in Newry
Tyrone’s Peter Harte and Conor Maginn of Down battle for possession during the Ulster SFC preliminary round replay at Páirc Esler in Newry. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Tyrone 3-11 Down 0-12: Second chances are meant to be grabbed with both hands and Tyrone certainly made sure of that in Newry on Saturday night as they comfortably fending off a Down team who couldn’t quite raise the same battling spirit of last Sunday’s draw.
In many ways Tyrone didn’t let them, playing a more consistent and confident game throughout, and with that setting up a quarter-final tie against reigning Ulster champions Monaghan on June 15th.
Down may have raised a considerable spurt in the second half of last Sunday’s drawn game in Omagh, but Tyrone refused to let that happen here – two goals from Ciaran McGinley, in either half, and a penalty from Peter Harte on 53 minutes more than enough to put the smile back on manager Mickey Harte’s face.
Captain Seán Cavanagh, who saved Tyrone’s necks at the death in Omagh last Sunday, could have had another goal earlier in the second half, only the crossbar coming to Down’s rescue.
Down did have one chance to get a goal back, only for Jerome Johnston’s shot to come back off the post. Instead they had to rely on points from Donal O’Hara, Conor Laverty and substitute Benny Coulter, although not nearly enough to bring them through.
Still, it promised to be interesting from the start, and so it proved. Down had themselves a penalty after just 30 seconds – Conor Maginn pulled down by Peter Harte – although Aidan Carr’s effort was then desperately predictable, struck directly at Niall Morgan who only had to raise his hands to stop it.
Tyrone, making four late changes, started anxiously, hit three wides in succession, before Ronan O’Neill opened their account on seven minutes, and that prompted a period of dominance that resulted in four points without reply, included a free from Morgan.
Suddenly, Down looked a little unnerved, and while Donal O’Hara got one back, with a free, Tyrone struck again – this time through McGinely on 23 minutes when he finished off soccer-style as he volleyed the ball straight past Brendan McVeigh.
The half closed out with dark rain clouds descending, and both teams struggled to gain any consistent grip on the game. Down, realising the need to tag on a few scores, did exactly that, with Dan Gordon – a surprise addition to their starting line-up – hitting a long-range point, followed up by another from O’Hare.
That kept Down in touch, 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval, but, as it turned out, that would be as close as they would get.
So Tyrone march on, ominously, with the reminder that Harte’s team have always drawn at least one game in Ulster in the years they went on to win the All-Ireland.
Early days still, but one day closer nonetheless.
TYRONE: N Morgan (0-3, two frees, one 45); A McCrory, Justin McMahon; R McNamee; R McNabb, M Donnelly (0-1), P Harte (1-1, 1-0 a penalty); C Cavanagh, C Clarke; E McKenna, S Cavanagh (capt), C McGinley (2-1); D McCurry (0-2, both frees), R O’Neill (0-1), K Coney. Subs: S O’Neill for McKenna, G Gormley for McNamee (both half time), N McKenna (0-1) for Coney (50 mins), M Penrose for McCurry (64 mins), C McAliskey (0-1) for R O’Neill (65 mins).
DOWN: B McVeigh; R Boyle, D McCartan, B McArdle; C Garvey (0-1), A Carr, D Rooney; G Gordon (0-1), K McKernan; C Maginn (0-1), M Poland (capt), J Johnston; D O’Hare (0-6, four frees), N Madine, C Lavery (0-2). Subs: B Coulter (0-1) for Carr (45 mins), R Johnston for Madine (48 mins), A Rogers for J Johnston (60 mins).
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).