Tyrone shot down Galway’s bid to reach the NFL Division 1 league final as they stormed back to win comfortably at Healy Park.
Unbeaten in their last five games, the Red Hands were themselves left to reflect on a disastrous start to the campaign, which has effectively cost them a place in the decider.
Galway’s defensive system malfunctioned badly in the second half as they conceded three bad goals, and saw their attack snuffed out by a hungry Tyrone attack.
Peter Harte edged the Red Hands in front from a free as the Red Hands started with a flourish, but Galway soon got their counter-attacking game into gear, and struck the next three scores.
David Wynne was a potent force pushing forward from deep, and got forward to set up a score for Johnny Heaney.
He also provided the assist from which Michael Daly could have had a goal, but settled for a fisted point, before Shane Walsh converted a free for a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
The home side, playing into a strong wind, responded with scores from Peter Harte and Michael Cassidy, who drove through from deep to claim an excellent point.
But in the 17th minute the Tribesmen struck for a goal. Antaine O Laoi sent in a dropping delivery, and Danny Cummings rose above the reach of Ronan McNamee to punch to the net.
He almost repeated with a similar effort moments later, but was denied by advancing goalkeeper Niall Morgan, and when Walsh followed up with a couple of free, the Connacht men led by 1-5 to 0-4.
Tyrone were struggling to break down a Galway defence in which John Daly and Gareth Bradshaw, along with Sean Andy O Ceallaigh, were in defiant mood, but Mattie Donnelly found a way through to knock over two quality points.
In the final ten minutes of the half, Galway pushed up on Morgan’s kick-outs, and won a generous share of possession.
As a direct result, they out-scored their opponents by six points to one in those closing stages, with Walsh, Michael Daly, Gareth Bradshaw and Heaney all hitting the target for a 1-11 to 0-7 interval lead.
Now facing the wind, Galway retreated deep into their own half, but were unable to withstand the Red Hand onslaught as they hit 1-2 in the opening eight minutes of the second half.
It was in the 44th minute that Sean Andy O Ceallaigh conceded a penalty by dragging down McShane, and Harte slotted the kick to the bottom corner of Ruairi Lavelle’s net.
And a defensive disaster for the Galway men saw Mattie Donnelly presented with an open goal after O Ceallaigh attempted a back-pass to goalkeeper Lavelle, apparently unaware that he had wandered from his post.
Donnelly slotted the ball, soccer-style to the net from 25 metres, and suddenly Tyrone were in front.
Now Galway had to come out of their defensive shell not just to chase the gam but to avert the possibility of further serious damage
Galway played the final 20 minutes with 14 players, with Eoghan Kerin’s return from the sin-bin coinciding with Gary O’Donnell’s departure on a second booking.
And the home side finished the job off with a third goal in stoppage time from substitute Conall McCann.
N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, HP McGeary; C Meyler, M Cassidy (0-2), B McDonnell; C Cavanagh, R Donnelly; P Harte (1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-2f), N Sludden, K McGeary (0-1); D McClure, C McShane (0-4, 2f, 1 mark), M Donnelly (1-4).
K Coney for McDonnell (42), M McKernan for HP McGeary (42), D McCurry (0-1) for Sludden (63), C McCann (1-0) for R Donnelly (68)
R Lavelle; E Kerin, SA O Ceallaigh, D Wynne; G O’Donnell, J Daly, G Bradshaw (0-1); T Flynn, C Duggan; F O Laoi, S Walsh (0-7, 4f), J Heaney (0-3); D Cummins (1-0), M Daly (0-2), A O Laoi (0-1, f).
C D’Arcy for Duggan (h-t), E Brannigan for Cummins (56), E Finnerty for Bradshaw (65)
C Reilly (Meath).