Tyrone honour McAnallen with emphatic win

Mayo 1-5 Tyrone 2-11

Mayo 1-5 Tyrone 2-11

The spirit of Cormac McAnallen lives on in the grieving Tyrone team he has left behind as they put on a show against Mayo.

Today at McHale Park in Castlebar, the courage pride and footballing skills of a team, in mourning sought to honour the memory of their late captain, and their nine points win was as dignified as it was emphatic.

Having walked slowly and solemnly in single file onto the pitch ahead of a minute's silence, Tyrone proceeded to get back to what they do best.

"We knew that we had something more than the elements to play against, but thankfully the boys stuck at it and worked hard, and got a goal just before half-time that gave us a bit of a cushion to work with," said manager Mickey Harte.

"It was a difficult day, it was always going to be difficult. We wanted to do our best for the McAnallen family in the best possible way to remember Cormac.

"I think the result did that. Often we have played better football over longer periods of time, but we did play well in spells, and more importantly, we played with a lot of Harte, bad he would have liked that.

"It was difficult. Unfortunately we have had a similar experience before with the death of Paul McGirr in 1997, so we probably knew what some of the obstacles would be in trying to do that.

"But we have to be people of hope, and we have to honour these people who played our games and gave us a lot of enjoyment and a lot of things to look up to, and Cormac, in his short life, has been such an example, such a role model, and if we wanted somebody to look up to, then we need look no further."

Understandably, Tyrone took some time to settle, but, wind-assisted dominated the opening stages before finally opening their account in the 13th minute with a Mark Harte free.

Kevin Hughes and Sean Cavanagh established a measure of control in midfield, and it was a typically surging Cavanagh run which set Hughes up for the first of his two points.

Mayo, looking surprisingly sluggish, struggled to find any fluency, and had to wait all of 18 minutes for their first score, a Michael Moyles point.

Stephen O'Neill almost sent a 45 direct to the net, but his kick crashed against a post after being hopelessly misjudged by the Mayo defence.

Now Tyrone, with Dooher revelling in his newly conferred responsibility as captain, were beginning to find their true form, and further scores cane from Cavanagh and Harte, followed by a superb Brendan Donnelly point from all of 50 metres.

Mayo responded with scores from Ronan McGarrity and Austin O'Malley, but the NFL champions struck for a goal in first half injury-time, a flowing move ending with Enda McGinley pinching Cavanagh's cross to the net for a 1-8 to 0-3 interval lead.

But Mayo were right back in the game when Damien Munnelly gathered an Austin O'Malley cross at the far post and crashed the ball to the roof of the net.

Now just five points separated the sides, and with Gary Ruane performing superbly in the Connacht side's defence, they sensed they could get something from this game.

But Tyrone turned the screw despite Hughes' departure through injury, the industry of Dooher and McGuigan driving them forward.

And after Gerard Cavlan had curled over a gem of a point, Mark Harte slotted home a penalty, awarded for Pat Kelly's foul on Cavanagh.

Mayo: D Clarke, D Geraghty, P Kelly, G Ruane, F Costello, G Mullins, C Moran, F Kelly, R McGarrity (0-1), M Moyles (0-1), BJ Padden, T Mortimer, M McNicholas, A O'Malley (0-3, 2f), D Munnelly (1-0).

Subs: A Costello for McNicholas, D Heaney for F Kelly, D Sweeney for Mullins.

Tyrone: J Devine, R McMenamin, C Gourley, M McGee, B Donnelly (0-1),G Devlin, P Jordan, K Hughes (0-2), S Cavanagh (0-2), B Dooher (0-1), B McGuigan, S O'Neill, M Harte (1-2, all f), E McGinley (1-1), G Cavlan (0-2).

Subs: O Mulligan for Hughes, C Lawn for McMenamin, J McMahon for Donnelly.

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).

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