Tyrone 0-13 Kildare 0-5
Tyrone stepped up their challenge for promotion with a comfortable win over Kildare at O’Neill Park in Dungannon.
The return of skipper Brian Dooher was an added bonus on an afternoon that saw the Red Hands overtake the Lilywhites in the Division Two table.
Dooher came on as a 58th minute substitute to a huge ovation, while Philip Jordan, the county’s only current all-Star, also came in for his first action of 2011.
A minute's silence was observed prior to the throw-in for Ronan Kerr, the young police officer who died in a bomb blast in Omagh yesterday. Ronan was a former playing member of the Beragh Red knights club in Tyrone.
Tyrone, with the wind in their backs, got their challenge going early on, with a couple of converted frees from Martin Penrose and a Brian McGuigan point from play.
It took the Leinster men 15 minutes to get their first score, when Johnny Doyle converted a free, but they began to et on top, adding further points through Doyle and Ronan Sweeney to narrow the gap to a point.
But Tyrone, with McGuigan back to his creative best, and Sean Cavanagh and Kevin Hughes stepping up their game, dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half, hitting five points without reply.
Penrose added three more to his tally, turning his marker for a smart point from play, and curling over a splendid free kick from close to the sideline.
McGuigan also added another, and a long range Hughes effort made it 0-9 to 0-3 at the break.
Tyrone were always in control in the second half, holding wind-assisted Kildare scoreless for 33 minutes, before Doyle converted a couple of late frees.
In the meantime, Mark Donnelly, a late pre-match replacement for the injured Stephen O’Neill slotted three excellent points from play, while Brian McGuigan displayed some of his famous play-making skills.
There was a huge cheer when Brian Dooher came in as a 58th minute substitute for his first appearance of the year, embarking on a 16th season in Tyrone colours.
Philip Jordan also made his season’s bow as a substitute, and the gradual return of a raft of experienced campaigners is further reason for Tyrone to feel optimistic.
Tyrone: P McConnell, M Swift, J McMahon, D McCaul, D Harte, C Gormley, R McMenamin, K Hughes (0-1), A Cassidy, C Cavanagh (0-1), B McGuigan (0-2), S Cavanagh (0-1, f), M Penrose (0-5, 4f), M Donnelly (0-3), O Mulligan.
Subs: P Jordan for McCaul, B Dooher for C Cavanagh, S O’Neill for McMenamin
Kildare: S Connolly, H McGrillen, M Foley, A McLaughlin, G White, M O’Flaherty, E Bolton, H Lynch, J Kavanagh, R Sweeney (0-1), E O’Flaherty, F Dowling, J Doyle (0-4, 3f), D Flynn, R Kelly.
Subs: P O’Neill for Dowling, O Lyons for McLaughlin, B Flanagan for Kavanagh, M O’Sullivan for E O’Flaherty, E Callaghan for Flynn
Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).