Allianz Football League Division One
TYRONE 1-7 DUBLIN 0-10
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
Dean Rock’s 74th minute point from a free rescued a precious Allianz football league point for Dublin and, in the process, preserved their proud unbeaten record.
The back to back All-Ireland champions haven’t lost a league or Championship game in almost two years but trailed by five points with nine minutes to go.
They reeled off the last five points of the game though to claim the draw, the same outcome as two years ago when the sides last met in the league.
Rock finished with six points and nailed the equaliser from a long-range free after Michael Fitzsimsons was fouled, a real show of character considering the All-Star forward failed to convert a penalty earlier.
Aidan McCrory put Tyrone on the front foot with a 47th minute minute goal and Man of the Match Niall Sludden’s third point nudged the Red Hands 1-7 to 0-5 ahead.
But they were reduced to 14 men after Mark Bradley’s 50th minute red card and couldn’t hold on as Dublin rallied superbly.
Dublin were back at GAA headquarters 133 days after beating Mayo there in the All-Ireland final replay to retain the Sam Maguire Cup.
But they faced an entirely different proposition this time as Tyrone went with a typical defence first strategy that boiled the game down to a tense battle of wits.
Tyrone, playing with the wind, led 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time and were just about good value for the lead.
They defended with 15 inside their own 45-metre line at times when Dublin attacked and then sought to break forward at pace.
It was a carbon copy of the setup they employed two years ago when they last played Dublin in the league and frustrated the Sky Blues who escaped with a draw.
Peter Harte and Sludden hit a brace of points each in the first period while Conor Meyler grabbed the other score.
Dublin dominated possession, as expected, so chances were few and far between for Tyrone and they were disappointed to boot seven first-half wides.
As for Dublin, two of their first-half points were scored by defenders, Philly McMahon and Jonny Cooper. Dean Rock converted the other point from a free so none of their forwards score from play until Ciaran Kilkenny’s 62nd minute point.
Declan McClure pointed for Tyrone after the restart to hand them a double scores lead, 0-6 to 0-3, though it was almost wiped out in the 40th minute.
Dublin were awarded a penalty for a foul on Paul Mannion but Rock’s kick was expertly pushed away by goalkeeper Niall Morgan who punched the air in delight.
Tyrone responded with McCrory’s well taken goal, after good work by McClure, and that Sludden point put them well in the clear but Dublin simply refused to be beaten.
Scorers for Tyrone: Aidan McCrory 1-0, Niall Sludden 0-3, Peter Harte 0-2 (2f), Declan McClure 0-1, Conor Meyler 0-1
Scorers for Dublin: Dean Rock 0-6 (0-6f), Philly McMahon 0-1, Jonny Cooper 0-1, Ciaran Kilkenny 0-1, Brian Fenton 0-1
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann, Aidan McCrory, Justin McMahon; Colm Cavanagh, Declan McClure; Conor Meyler, Niall Sludden, Peter Harte; Mark Bradley, Cathal McShane, Darren McCurry. Subs: Rory Brennan for McCann (17, black card), Ronan O’Neill for Sludden (29-31), Sean Cavanagh for McShane (h/t), Jonathan Monroe for McMahon (47), David Mulgrew for Meyler (51), Conal McCann for McCurry (62), Padraig McNulty for McClure (72).
DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Jonny Cooper, Philly McMahon, Michael Fitzsimons; James McCarthy, John Small, Jack McCaffrey; Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh Macauley; Colm Basquel, Ciaran Kilkenny, Niall Scully; Dean Rock, Eoghan O’Gara, Paul Mannion. Subs: Eric Lowndes for Basquel (h/t), Kevin McManamon for Macauley (44), Ciaran Reddin for Mannion (51), David Byrne for McCaffrey (51), Jason Whelan for Small (57), Darren Daly for Cooper (59).
Ref: J McQuillan (Cavan).