Red Hands escape Rossies' ambush

Red Hands escape Rossies' ambush

Roscommon 1-7 Tyrone 0-12

Tyrone got out of Hyde Park with a narrow two points win after escaping a Roscommon ambush.

The Rossies could have sparked a major shock had they taken their scores during a late onslaught, with the Red Hands on the back foot and fighting for survival.

Tyrone appeared to have weathered an earlier storm when they kicked six points on the spin early in the second half to go six clear, but they were breathing huge sighs of relief at the final whistle as they squeezed through to the third round of the Qualifiers.

Roscommon, fielding with a new-look attack with the surprise omission of Senan Klbride, Donie Smith and Kevin Higgins, made the early running, but lacked a cutting edge up front.

With both side deploying sweepers, an untidy stalemate endured for the opening 14 minutes, until Cathal Cregg won the free that Conor Devaney converted from the 20 metre line.

Tyrone struggled to break down a defence in which Niall Daly, Paddy Brogan and Neil Collins were up for the challenge.

Tyrone had toiled for almost 18 minutes by the time Sean Cavanagh opened their account from a 45 metre free.

And they went ahead three minutes later when Mark Donnelly’s industry was rewarded by a neatly executed point.

Roscommon’s tackling and the selfless workrate of their players forced a series of turnovers, and they drew level when corner back Neil Collins got on the end of a tidy move to fist a point 10 minutes before the break.

It was Collins who sent in the searching ball for Devaney to run on to for a sensational 30th minute goal, finishing to the roof of the net at the second attempt after Pascal McConnell kept out his initial effort.

Tyrone had a goal chance when Martin Penrose picked out Joe McMahon, but Darren O’Malley denied the full back, with Conor McAliskey bringing the sides level from the resultant ’45.

They went in at the break deadlocked on 1-2 to 0-5, and when Darren McCurry kicked four points, followed by scores from Sean Cavanagh and Penrose, they looked set to go through with plenty to spare.

But substitute Kevin Higgins sparked another Roscommon flourish with a point, and further scores from Cathal Cregg (3) and Donie Shine had the Rossies right back in it.

However, they lacked a clinical finisher in the closing stages, when they shot a handful of wides with Tyrone on the ropes.

The Red Hands managed just one point, a sixth from McCurry, in the final quarter, but managed to hold on and win by two.

The Rossies made a heroic exit, and manager John Evans will look to 2014 with confidence as he embarks on the second phase of a bold project.

Roscommon: D O’Malley, N Collins (0-1), N Carty, S McDermott, D Keenan, N Daly, P Brogan, C Shine, K Mannion, C Daly, E Smith, C Cregg (0-3 (2f), I Kilbride, D Shine (0-2, 2f), C Devaney (1-1 (0-1f).

Subs: D OGara for Smith (40), K Higgins for Kilbride (44), M Finneran for Daly (49), C Compton for Devaney (53), S Kilbride for D Shine (65),

Tyrone: P McConnell, R McKenna, Joe McMahon, C McCarron, C Clarke, P Harte, C Gormley, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-2, 1f), Mattie Donnelly, Mark Donnelly (0-2), Ciaran McGinley, D McCurry (0-6 (4f), M Penrose (0-1), C McAliskey (0-1, ’45).

Subs: K Gallagher for Mattie Donnelly (47), R O’Neill for McAliskey (47), S Warnock for McKenna (57), K Coney for McCurry (63), P McNeice for Mark Donnelly (66)

Referee: D Gough (Meath)

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