ALL-IRELAND SFC ROUND 1B QUALIFIER: TYRONE 1-14 LIMERICK 0-8
By Orla Bannon at Healy Park
Tyrone came good in the second half of a poor first round All-Ireland SFC qualifier in Limerick with a ten-point win which flattered the home team in Healy Park.
Peter Harte’s fisted goal in injury-time gave the Red Hands a bigger margin of victory than they deserved, with Limerick in this game for the first 50 minutes.
Limerick danger-man Ian Ryan missed some free-kicks which dented the unfancied visitors’ hopes of staying in this game as long as possible, and Tyrone finished strongly, outscoring their opponents by 1-8 to 0-4 in the second half.
Conor McAliskey top-scored with six points in Healy Park as Tyrone struggled to shake off the cobwebs after a six-week lay-off and they only led by 0-6 to 0-4 at half time.
Limerick battled hard in the first half but lost Cillian Fahy and Darragh Treacy to black cards. The Red Hands scored the opening three points after 11 minutes. Mattie Donnelly stroked over a long-range opening minute point while Sean Cavanagh (free) and a Conor McAliskey point put the home side seemingly in control.
McAliskey was involved at both ends of the field, drilling a shot wide of the near post and then making a superb interception at the other end after his marker, cornerback Robert Browne, made a run in behind the Tyrone defence and threatened to score a goal of his own.
Midfielder Gearoid Hegarty scored Limerick’s first point after 15 minutes but by that stage, the visitors suffered their first black card dismissal after Cillian Fahy was sent off after six minutes. Darragh Treacy also got a black card before half time.
Tyrone had a goal disallowed in the 17th minute when over-elaboration led to Cathal McCarron being blown for a square ball. Peter Harte made a strong run through the middle and laid the ball off to McAliskey. He lobbed it back across to McCarron who was already in the square.
McAliskey’s free put Tyrone 0-4 to 0-1 ahead in the 21st minute. Limerick dangerman Ian Ryan scored his first from a tight angle and Browne’s free brought the visitors back to within a point. Darren McCurry nailed a free before being substituted and although Limerick goalkeeper Brian Scanlon used the wind to nail a ’45’, McAliskey chipped over a nice point on the run to make it 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval.
Tyrone made a couple of switches at half time with Mattie Donnelly moving to full-forward as the rain began to pour down. McAliskey’s free was quickly cancelled out by Cian Sheehan’s point before a classy point from Ronan O’Neill put Tyrone three points up.
Tyrone’s half-forward line malfunctioned in the first half but suddenly a few scores came from this sector, with Tiernan McCann following O’Neill in raising a white flag. Sub Mark Bradley scored from a tight angle and Tyrone were 0-10 to 0-5 ahead having scored four of the first five points in the second period by the 45th minute.
Ian Ryan missed a free that Limerick badly needed to get back in the game. They almost grabbed a goal when another Ryan free came off the upright, but Gearoid Hegarty’s fisted effort hit the side netting.
Sean Cavanagh landed the best point of the day four minutes from the end to book Tyrone’s place in tomorrow morning’s draw.
Scorers for Tyrone: C McAliskey 0-6 (4f), P Harte 1-0, S Cavanagh 0-2 (1f), M Donnelly 0-1, T McCann 0-1, R O’Neill 0-1, R Brennan 0-1, D McCurry 0-1 (1f), M Bradley 0-1
Scorers for Limerick: I Ryan 0-2 (1f), B Scanlon 0-1 (1 ’45’), R Browne 0-1 (1f), C Sheehan 0-1, G Hegarty 0-1, S Buckley 0-1, K Moore 0-1 (1f)
TYRONE: M O’Neill; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, Justin McMahon, P Harte; C Cavanagh, M Donnelly; T McCann, R O’Neill, R Brennan; D McCurry, S Cavanagh, C McAliskey. Subs: M Bradley for McCurry (32), Joe McMahon for McNabb (63), D McBride for C Cavanagh (65), R Donnelly for Justin McMahon (68), C Clarke for Harte (70)
LIMERICK: B Scanlon; J McCarthy, S O’Dea, R Browne; I Corbett, C Fahy, S Cahill; T Lee, G Hegarty; D Treacy, C Sheehan, S Buckley; D Neville, P Nash, I Ryan. Subs: B Fanning for Fahy (BC, 6), M Brosnan for Treacy (BC, 35), P Ranahan for Lee (53), K Moore for Nash (55), C Phair for Neville (67), G Noonan for Cahill (69).
Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)
Photos thanks to Damien McAnespie firstname.lastname@example.org