Tyrone move to third on table

In a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland SFC final, Tyrone edged 14-man Kerry by 1-14 to 1-12 at a wet Healy Park to move temporarily up to third in NFL Division 1A.

ALLIANZ NFL: DIVISION 1A:

Tyrone 1-14 Kerry 1-12, Omagh

In a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland SFC final, Tyrone edged 14-man Kerry by 1-14 to 1-12 at a wet Healy Park to move temporarily up to third in NFL Division 1A.

Despite a poor first half, things were all rosy in the Red Hands’ garden by the finish as Stephen O'Neill top-scored with 1-04 and 2005 All-Ireland winning captain Brian Dooher, introduced off the bench, made his first appearance of the season after ankle surgery.

The win will put Mickey Harte’s side in good stead as they take on Cork next weekend in their postponed game and finish up the league proper with an April 9 clash with table-toppers Mayo.

The hosts got off to a slow start as Kerry captain Declan O’Sullivan pointed inside 40 seconds and a Colm Cooper goal after 7 minutes had the visitors 1-03 to 0-03 in front. Cooper had grabbed two early points in reply to Tyrone efforts from Kevin Hughes, O’Neill and Sean Cavanagh.

Brian McGuigan, Gerald Cavlan and Cavanagh had Harte’s charges back within a point on 21 minutes, with Kerry midfielder Darragh O’Se also getting off the mark. But Kerry, eyeing up their fifth straight win in the league, hit three points without reply from O’Sullivan, Ronan O’Connor (free) and Cooper to end the half with a 1-07 to 0-06 buffer.

Having obviously got a roasting from the Tyrone management at the interval, the Red Hands hit an unanswered haul of 1-05 to blaze in front after barely a quarter of an hour of the second half.

Cavanagh and McGuigan tagged on initial points, then came O’Neill’s goal on 45 minutes. Conor Gormley gathered in a loose kick from Paul Galvin to begin the move, Ryan McMenamin and Cavlan carried it forward before O’Neill created enough space for himself to crash a left-footed drive to the Kerry net.

O’Neill added a point before O’Connor (free) hit Kerry’s opening point of the second half – 21 minutes in. Harte sprung Dooher off the bench to wild applause and the Clann na nGael clubman mustered a fine 40-yard point on the hour mark to signal his return.

Cooper kept Kerry ticking and a well-struck point from substitute Paddy Kelly on 68 minutes reduced the arrears to one at 1-13 to 1-12.

A draw seemed on the cards but Kerry ruined their chances when midfielder Kieran Donaghy slid in on Collie Holmes in injury-time to earn his second yellow card and a sending off from referee David Coldrick. A soft free allowed O’Neill crack over his fourth point of the afternoon to seal the home win.

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