Report and Photo Courtesy of GAA.ie
Allianz Football League Division II: Kildare 0-12 Tyrone 2-11
Tyrone made the perfect start to their 2012 Allianz Football League Division II campaign, beating fellow promotion favourites Kildare by five points in a game that exploded into life in the second half at Croke Park.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte may have given auditions to some new faces following a succession of retirements in the off-season, but it was two old hands, Stephen O’Neill and Owen Mulligan, who led the way for the Red Hands.
They struggled badly in the first half and trailed by 0-6 to 0-3 at the break, but a far better second half performance, which saw Peter Harte put in a brilliant shift at centre-back, helped the Ulster side to an unexpected but thoroughly deserved win.
Mulligan and O’Neill kicked 0-8 between them, but the pair contributed far more. Tyrone powered back into the game when Martin Penrose fisted the ball past Shane Connolly in the Kildare goal in the 41st minute, having been played in by a Peter Harte pass.
Their second goal was even better, but this time Harte provided the finish, tipping the ball bravely past the goalkeeper to give his side a 2-7 to 0-10 lead after Mulligan carved open the Kildare defence with a sublime pass.
Mulligan added a point within a minute and Stephen O’Neill hit two more to add to his tally, and Tyrone were six clear, 2-10 to 0-10. They would have been home and dry had O’Neill not missed a gilt-edged chance, blasting the ball into the side netting from close range.
Kildare were shell-shocked, and despite Mikey Conway adding two late points to crown a brilliant performance from centre-forward, the Lilywhites failed to muster any real comeback.
Tyrone: P McConnell; A McCrory, C Clarke, PJ Quinn; C McCarron, P Harte (1-0), S O’Neill; M Murphy, A Cassidy; Matthew Donnelly (0-1), P Hughes, M Penrose (1-0); O Mulligan (0-3, 0-1f), M Donnelly (0-1), S O’Neill (0-5, 0-2f).
Subs: Damian McCaul (0-1) for PJ Quinn, R O’Neill (0-1) for P Hughes (both 33), N McKenna for A Cassidy (61), S Cavanagh for M Penrose (66), R McMenamin for M Donnelly (68).
Kildare: S Connolly; P Kelly (0-1), C Fitzpatrick, O Lyons; B Flanagan, T O’Neill, E O’Flaherty (0-2, 0-1f, 0-1 ’45); D Flynn, R Sweeney; T Moolick, M Conway (0-6, 0-2f), P O’Neill (0-2); J Kavanagh, T O’Connor, A Smith.
Subs: J Doyle (0-1) for T Moolick (20), H McGrillen for B Flanagan (43) E Callaghan for A Smith (44), M O’Flaherty for C Fitzpatrick (51), R Kelly for D Flynn (59).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)