|Tyrone survive Cork fightback - Sunday, September 19, 2010
|Tyrone survived a storming Cork comeback to win a dramatic ESB All-Ireland MFC decider by 1-13 to 1-12 at Croke Park.
In drizzly conditions, the winners dominated the first 20 minutes to lead by eight points. The Rebels finally roused and registered five successive points to trail by just four at the break, 1-6 to 0-5.
Richard Donnelly clipped a Tyrone 45 marginally wide in the second minute and Cork full forward Tom Hegarty also failed to find the target before wing back Niall Sludden fired the Ulster champions ahead with a beautiful point in the fourth minute.
Two minutes later, John McCullagh lost his man to double the differential, with Ronan O'Neill prominent in the move. O'Neill missed a couple of chances. We then had ten minutes without a score, with Cork pair Dan McEoin and Damien Cahalane both harshly penalised for overcarrying before the busy McCullagh notched a third point for Raymond Munroe's team.
Kevin Hallissey pulled a low shot across the face of the Tyrone goal and Conor O'Sullivan got forward from wing back to add to the Rebels' wides tally. In the 17th minute, Eunan Deeney raided forward to make it 0-4 to no score - another excellent Tyrone point.
On 18 minutes, Thomas Canavan swung over a free from the hands off his trusty left boot to stretch the gap to five. It was all one-way traffic and the opening goal arrived in the 20th minute when Harry Og Conlon had the simple task of tapping the ball to an empty net after Cork 'keeper David Hanrahan had dealt superbly with the midfielder's original flick.
Brian Hurley opened Cork's account from a 21st-minute free but they still trailed by seven, 1-5 to 0-1. Cahalane dropped a long-range free but impressive Ilen Rovers clubman McEoin was on hand to close the gap further with an exquisitely-taken point seven minute from the break.
Hurley kept his cool to pop a free from his hands through the posts into Hill 16, after a foul on Hallissey. And, the gap was down to four when the super Cork No.15 curled over another wonderful point from distance on 27 minutes: 1-5 to 0-4.
The Leesiders came desperately close to a goal in the 29th minute when the ball fell to Hallissey close to goal but the No.13's rasping shot flew inches over the bar and Brian Cuthbert's charges had to settle for a point. In the last minute of first-half normal time, centre back Michael Donaghy became the third member of the O'Neill County half back line to point.
That score left the pre-match favourites ahead by four at the interval, 1-6 to 0-5.
McCullagh and O'Neill (free) both added to Tyrone's tally within 90 seconds of the restart before - five minutes into the second half - McEoin steadied the Munster side with a thumping point. John O'Rourke followed up with another great Cork point, bringing the gap back down to four.
After Hurley surprisingly missed a free, Ryan Devlin increased the Tyrone lead after a lovely O'Neill through-ball. In the 43rd minute, midfielder Conan Grugan made it a six-point game with an unbelievable point off his left foot from the left wing on the run, making a mockery of the angles to leave it 1-10 to 0-7.
When McCullagh followed up with his fourth point on the three-quarters mark, the game was effectively over… Grugan arrowed over his second score of the afternoon and McEoin pulled back a point before Hallissey fired an unstoppable shot into the bottom right hand corner of the Tyrone net in the 55th minute.
When O'Rourke followed up with an instant point, the Rebels had hit 1-2 inside two minutes and were suddenly only three points behind, 1-12 to 1-9.
Astonishingly, McEoin tagged on his fourth point four minutes from the end as the gap came down to two. And O'Rourke was on hand 60 seconds later to make it a one-point game, 1-12 to 1-11. What a comeback! With an amazing run of 1-4 in less than five minutes, the Cork lads had closed an eight-point gap to one point.
In the last minute, Hanrahan made a fantastic save to deny Harry Og Conlon a clinching goal but O'Neill gathered the rebound to pop the insurance point between the posts: 1-13 to 1-11.
McEoin pointed 90 seconds into the two allotted minutes of additional time and Tyrone were one point ahead when the final whistle sounded to signal the end of a thriller.
Cork had produced barnstorming finishes to both halves and they will feel that the referee might have added more than two minutes of stoppage time. But Tyrone were excellent for 45 minutes of this game and are worthy winners.
Tyrone, All-Ireland MFC final: Colm Spiers; Shay McGarrity, Conor Clarke, Pat McGeary; Niall Sludden (0-1), Michael Donaghy (0-1), Eunan Deeney (0-1); Harry Og Conlon (1-0), Conan Grugan (0-2); Richard Donnelly, Thomas Canavan (0-1), Ryan Devlin (0-1); Stefan Tierney, John McCullagh (0-4), Ronan O'Neill (0-2). Subs: P McNulty, Liam Girvan, Darragh Donnelly,
Cork, All-Ireland MFC final: David Hanrahan; Kevin Fulignati, Matthew O'Shea, Alan Cronin; Conor O'Sullivan, Thomas Clancy, Jamie Wall; Jamie Burns, Damien Cahalane; John O'Rourke (0-3), Mark Sugrue, Dan MacEoin (0-5); Kevin Hallissey (1-1), Tom Hegarty, Brian Hurley (0-3). Subs: Dan Fitzgerald, Luke Connolly, David O'Donovan, Stephen O'Mahony, Kevin Sheehan.