Dublin 0-18 Tyrone 0-17
Dublin won their first NFL title in 20 years with a nail-biting win over Tyrone in a Croke Park thriller.
The sides were level on eight occasions before substitute Dean Rock kicked two late scores to seal it for Jim Gavin’s side.
A compelling encounter could have gone either way, and despite defeat, Tyrone will take heart from the quality of a performance delivered despite the absence of star attacker and team captain Stephen O’Neill, who picked up an injury in the pre-match warm-up.
In front of a crowd of 33,134, Sean Cavanagh cancelled out Bernard Brogan’s early conversion, but the Dubs eased into a three points lead, Diarmuid Connolly sweeping over two sweet scores and Brogan knocking over his second free.
The Red Hands rallied, with Joe McMahon and Mattie Donnelly prompting from deep, and went level b the 16th minute with scores from Mattie Donnelly, Conor McAliskey and a long range free from goalkeeper Niall Morgan.
Michael Darragh Macauleys’ surging runs from midfield were causing immense problems for the Tyrone defence, however, and he set up a Paddy Andrews point that restored the Metropolitans’ three points cushion.
Another storming incursion from Macauley sent Jason Whelan in for a crack at goal that was superbly kept out by Morgan, but Paul Mannion turned the rebound over the bar.
Tyrone also had a goal chance when Sean Cavanagh met McAliskey’s searching delivery on the volley, but the ball flew over the bar.
A second point from Mannion, squeezed over from an almost impossible angle, had Dublin ahead by two approaching half-time, but late scores from Morgan, from a 47 metre free, and McAliskey, sent the sides in deadlocked on 0-10 each at the break.
Morgan regained the lead for Tyrone with a monster free, and asustained period of Dublin repssure produced just two points, both scored by Mannion.
The sides were level for the fifth time after Bernard Brogan steered a 35 metre free between the posts, but he missed a more straightforward effort moments later.
Tyrone were growing in confidence, McAliskey applying the finish to a swift counter-attacking move led by Mattie Donnelly, and Mark Donnelly’s fisted effort had them a point to the good heading into the final quarter.
And Morgan stepped up top send a massive 52 metre free over the bar to make it 0-15 to 0-14 in Tyrone’s favour going into the last 10 minutes.
However, it was Dublin who had the bench resources to swing it, with Dean Rock coming into the game to kick two marvellous points, before Jack McCaffrey clinched it, raiding along the left to send in a fierce shot which Morgan deflected over the bar
Dublin scorers: B Brogan 0-5 (5f), P Mannion 0-4 (1f), D Connolly, D Rock 0-2 each, J McCaffrey, P Andrews, P McMahon, B Cullen, S Cluxton (f) 0-1 each
Tyrone scorers: N Morgan 0-5 (4f, 1 ’45), S Cavanagh 0-4 (1f), C McAliskey 0-3, M Penrose 0-2 (2f), Mattie Donnelly, Mark Donnelly, C Gormley 0-1 each.
Dublin: S Cluxton, K O’Brien, J Cooper, D Daly, J McCarthy, G Brennan, J McCaffrey, MD Macauley, C O’Sullivan, J Whelan, D Connolly, B Cullen, P Mannion, P Andrews, B Brogan.
Subs: S Carthy for Whelan, K McManamon for Cullen, D Bastick for O’Sullivan, P McMahon for Macauley, D Rock for Brogan
Tyrone: N Morgan, PJ Quinn, C Clarke, C McCarron, C Gormley, D Carlin, Justin McMahon, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly, Mark Donnelly Joe McMahon, M Penrose, C McAliskey, P McNeice.
Subs: A Cassidy for Carlin, P Kane for Justin McMahon, K Coney for McNeice, D McCurry for Cassidy
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).