Sean Cavanagh came through his first full game yesterday at Tuam Stadium and Stephen O’Neill was strong and full of running when introduced in the second-half. And Kyle Coney produced a string of points in the sort of performance which will be required if Tyrone are to make headway this summer.
The net result of it all was a fifth successive win and promotion to the top flight in the league, with not a single goal being conceded.
Afterwards Galway boss Alan Mulholland was lamenting on what might have been: “We had traded point for point and we got a couple of good goal chances early in the second-half which we didn’t convert. It was unfortunate we didn’t convert at least one of them and then of course they hit us with a sucker-punch with that goal from the penalty.
The crucial score came after 42 minutes when Peter Harte was hauled down by Keith Kelly before the Tyrone centre-back got up and drilled the resultant penalty into the bottom left corner with Galway goalkeeper Adrian Faherty getting a touch.
“Ultimately this game hinged on a goal. Whoever was going to get a goal was going to be in a strong position and thankfully it fell to us and we pushed on from there,” said Mickey Harte.
But while he was pleased with the win he was angry that corner-back PJ Quinn got a red card after an off the ball incident with Galway’s Pádraic Joyce, with referee Eddie Kinsella consulting his umpires before making his decision.
“PJ Quinn says he was just pulled around and in the swing around his foot hit him [Joyce] in the knee or somewhere, that he never kicked him or anything they are putting him down for. He is adamant that is not the case and I would well believe it. He has never got a red card in his life,” said Harte.
There was never more than a point between them in the opening half until Tyrone finished strongly before the break with points from Kyle Coney and Owen Mulligan.
And with Sean Cavanagh improving as the game developed and Stephen O’Neill also impressing after being introduced, Tyrone pushed on after the goal with Coney landing three outstanding points from play to open up a 1-10 to 0-7 lead after 48 minutes.
But Galway rallied and two points from Gary Sice and another free from Nicky Joyce gave them hope but Tyrone finished strongly and held on to the ball to secure another impressive win.
Scorers for Galway: N Joyce 0-4 (3fs); G Sice 0-3 (1f); G O’Donnell 0-2; P Conroy 0-1; D Cummins 0-1; A Faherty 0-1 (45) P Joyce 0-1 (f)
Scorers for Tyrone: K Coney 0-5 (1f); P Harte 1-0 (pen); O Mulligan 0-3 (3fs); Mark Donnelly 0-1; Matthew Donnelly 0-1; C McCarron 0-1; S Cavanagh 0-1; S O’Neill 0-1; M Penrose 0-1 (f).
GALWAY: A Faherty; K McGrath, F Hanley, K Kelly; G Bradshaw, D Blake, G O’Donnell; G Higgins, J Bergin; G Sice, D Burke, N Coleman; N Joyce, P Conroy, D Cummins.
Subs: T Flynn for Coleman, 41; M Boyle for Bergin, 45; P Joyce for Cummins, 49; J Duane for Blake, 59; C Bane for Burke, 67.
TYRONE: J Curran; A McCrory, J McMahon, PJ Quinn; C McCarron, P Harte, D McCaul; M Murphy, S Cavanagh; R McNabb, Mark Donnelly, Matthew Donnelly; K Coney, M Penrose, O Mulligan.
Subs: S O’Neill for Penrose, 32; A Cassidy for Matthew Donnelly, 35; N McKenna for Mark Donnelly, 52; C Cavanagh for Murphy, 52; C Gormley for McCrory, 69.
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).