In front of a 19,884 crowd, they were full value for their victory but drew the ire of Dublin supporters for a series of cynical fouls in the final five minutes as they protected their lead with desperate rugby-like tackles and jersey-pulling.
Mark Donnelly, who was guilty of the latter, and Sean Cavanagh and Aidan Cassidy were all yellow carded by Marty Duffy as their ugly attempts to prevent Dublin from attacking were condemned by the home crowd.
Afterwards, with the Football Review Committee’s (FRC) black card proposals to curb cynicism also in mind, Mickey Harte described late personal fouls as disappointing but exceptional.
“I do believe referees have a yellow card to deal with the deliberate personal foul and I think that will suffice. I think if someone commits one (a personal foul) at the end of the game, that’s the exception rather than the rule.
“If someone commits one of those during the game they’re walking on thin ice and they’re not in a good place. There are enough deterrents there to stop people doing it. If, on the odd occasion, it does happen that way (late in the game), it is disappointing and it may happen. But that’s not going to be the rule — that’s the exception. I don’t think we should change the rules for the exception.”
Harte insisted there is no such thing as tactical fouling.
“Absolutely not. I would love for the person to show me the team that can go out and choreograph their fouling. It’s impossible to choreograph your tackling, let alone your fouling. ”
Dublin manager Jim Gavin appeared to be peeved by the fouls but pointed out Tyrone were working within the boundaries of the existing rules of the game.
“Teams are playing within the rules — that’s the first thing I’ll say about it. The referee is implementing the rules as they stand and I have already endorsed the work of the FRC, it’s up to each county board to make their a call on that.”
The unwelcome acts in the finale detracted a little from a vastly improved Tyrone performance on the previous weekend’s home defeat by Cork. Although they blasted 10 wides in the first-half, they still went into the break 0-10 to 1-6 ahead.
Harte wasn’t too concerned about his side’s erratic shooting. “It was disappointing to have missed so many chances in the first-half but I wouldn’t say they were all misses as such. ”
Tyrone were limited for most of the half to shots from long range and acute angles and trailed by four points in the 16th minute when Kevin McManamon rounded Aidan McCrory with a menacing run and his shot was finished to the net by Philip Ryan.
Seven minutes later, Niall Morgan was called on twice to save from Darren Daly and Craig Dias but Tyrone snuck ahead just before the interval when Stephen O’Neill picked off his third of the half.
Three Tyrone points to one from Dublin extended the visitors’ lead to three by the 44th minute before Morgan denied Diarmuid Connolly a goal a minute later. With Paul Flynn becoming more influential, Dublin strung together three unanswered points and levelled matters in the 54th minute. Paddy Andrews registered the score of the game with a hooking left-footed point to put Dublin ahead three minutes later. However, the next four scores came from Tyrone, subs Patrick McNiece and Plunkett Kane finding their range from distance and accounting for three of them.
Michael Darragh Macauley spurned a 65th minute goal chance to tie up the game when he shot over the crossbar as Tyrone then turned to cynicism to shield their two-point advantage. That said, Jack McCaffrey had to clear off the line from an O’Neill shot two minutes into injury-time. Connolly converted a resulting free from the clearance after Sean Cavanagh hauled down Bryan Cullen. Although, a missed 45 of Connolly’s moments before turned out to be costly.
“We probably needed the result more than Dublin did,” said Harte, “and that probably helped us get the point that mattered at the end.”
That much was true but sadly it manifested itself in the wrong way in the closing stages.
Scorers for Dublin: D Connolly 0-6 (frees); P Ryan 1-0; P Flynn, P Andrews, K McManamon 0-2 each; C Dias, MD Macauley 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tyrone: S O’Neill (1f), S Cavanagh (2f) 0-4 each; P Harte (1f), Mark Donnelly, P Kane 0-2 each; N Morgan (f), M Penrose, C Cavanagh, P McNiece 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: S Supple; D Nelson, G Brennan, K O’Brien; D Daly, C O’Sullivan, J McCaffrey; D O’Mahony, D Bastick; P Flynn, D Connolly, C Kilkenny; P Ryan, P Andrews, K McManamon.
Subs: C Dias for Kilkenny (inj 6); MD Macauley for O’Mahony (h-t); B Cullen for Dias (45); P Mannion for Ryan (52); N Devereux for Nelson (61).
TYRONE: N Morgan; A McCrory, C Gormley, C McCarron; Joe McMahon, Justin McMahon, R McNamee C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh; C McGinley, P Harte, Matthew Donnelly; M Penrose, S O’Neill, Mark Donnelly.
Subs: P McNiece for Matthew Donnelly (h-t); P Kane for McGinley (55); R McKenna for Joe McMahon (62); C McAliskey for Penrose (63); C McAliskey for C Cavanagh (63, blood); D McBride for Justin McMahon (inj 68).
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).