Deadlock finally broken between Down and Tyrone

Down 1-19 Tyrone 0-21 (aet)

Down 1-19 Tyrone 0-21 (aet)

Down scored a sensational replay win at Páirc Esler to send holders Tyrone crashing out of the Ulster SFC.

An extra-time epic in front of a crowd of 18,272 yesterday evening saw Ross Carr’s men lay on a heroic performance to claim their first win over the Red Hands since 1999.

Tyrone got themselves into the driving seat early on, and reeled off points through Colm Cavanagh, who steered two frees between the uprights, and older brother Sean.

Down did win the frees, however, which defenders Aidan Carr and Liam Doyle (3) converted.

The younger Cavanagh brought his tally to four from placed balls before he was forced to retire injured, and with Dan Gordon struggling to repeat his midfield heroics of the drawn game, the home side looked in trouble at 0-7 to 0-3 behind.

They produced another flourish in the final 13 minutes of the half, scoring four on the trot, with Gordon on target, and another defender, Paul Murphy, bringing them level, before Sean Cavanagh edged the Red Hands back in front just before the break on 0-8 to 0-7.

There was little to separate the sides in the early stages of the second half, with a Tyrone point from Martin Penrose quickly cancelled out by John Clarke.

With Ambrose Rodgers rising to the occasion in midfield, Ross Carr’s men continued to expose weaknesses in the Tyrone defence, Benny Coulter was at last beginning to show what a gifted player he is, and his darting run along the left wing was finished with fisted point for a 0-14 to 0-11 advantage with 10 minutes to play.

Just when the crowd was braced for the Tyrone backlash, it was Down who stepped up the tempo still further, and when Carr stroked a ‘45’ between the posts, they led by four.

However super-sub Tommy McGuigan, who only came into the game in the 56th minute, hit five remarkable points, including four frees, to send the game to extra-time.

Down were restored to 15 men for added time, following the double yellow card dismissal of Damien Rafferty, but Tyrone raced into a four points lead through Cavanagh and McGuigan.

In another twist, Down roared back, and when Coulter fisted a goal, they led 1-19 to 0-20 midway through the added period.

Tyrone scored the only point of the final segment, but they could not do enough to overhaul the dogged Down men.

Down: B McVeigh, L Howard, D McCartan, P Murphy (0-1), A Carr (0-4, 3f, 1 ‘45’), L Doyle (0-6, 6 f), D Rafferty, D Gordon (0-1), J Lynch, A Rodgers (0-1), R Murtagh D Hughes (0-1), J Clarke (0-1), R Sexton, B Coulter (1-3).

Subs: P McComiskey for Lynch (45 mins), K McKernan (0-1)for Clarke (51), S Kearney for Murtagh (68), Kevin McGuigan (71), J Colgan for McCartan (81), Clarke for Murphy (89).

Tyrone: J Devine, R McMenamin, Justin McMahon, PJ Quinn, D Harte, C Gourley, P Jordan (0-1), C Gormley, Joe McMahon, B Dooher, R Mellon (0-1), C Cavanagh (0-4, 4f), M Penrose (0-1), S Cavanagh (0-4, 1f), C McCullagh (0-4, 1f).

Subs: K Hughes for C Cavanagh (30 mins), P Donnelly for Hughes (45), T McGuigan (0-6, 4f) for Mellon (56), M McGee for Quinn (81)

Referee: P McEnaney (Monaghan).

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