Tyrone cash in as Mayo misfire

Tyrone 2-15 Mayo 0-16
Injury-plagued Mayo were left to rue a catalogue of missed goal opportunities as they suffered their second away defeat in seven days.

Along with Kerry and Westmeath, they are rooted to the bottom of Division 1 with no points from their opening two games.

Tyrone led by seven points after seven minutes of the second half, having gone into the break 1-9 to 0-6 ahead. But five unanswered Mayo points, three from the promising Adam Gallagher, brought the visitors right back into the contest before the introduction of experienced pair Sean Cavanagh and Mark Donnelly in the 51st minute gave Tyrone some much-needed composure.

However, it was the graft of Ciaran McGinley and the ingenuity of Ronan O’Neill, which combined to set up the impressive Darren McCurry for the game-clinching goal, his second, in the 63rd minute.

With that, Mayo’s hopes of a recovery were dashed although Brian Gallagher flashed a goal chance over the bar in injury-time.

It was the third such opportunity for Mayo, who saw Cathal Carolan and Keith Higgins blaze shots over Niall Morgan’s crossbar in the opening four minutes when the net was abegging.

A David Drake shot was snuffed out by the Tyrone goalkeeper in the 11th minute while he was also alert to stop an off-balance Kevin McLoughlin attempt just before half-time.

As well as regretting the number of times his players bought dummies in the game, Mayo manager James Horan acknowledged the spurned goal chances were costly.

“We started off well and had three or four very good goal chances but executed them very poorly,” he said.

“We didn’t take any of them and that’s about seven or eight goals chances from which we haven’t got a return.

“When you are on top like we were at the start of the game you need to take those chances. But we didn’t, whereas Tyrone got a lot of points from a lot of different angles and a lot of the trouble we ran into was our own trouble today.”

Similar to Newbridge, Mayo were punished by some spectacular scores from an in-form forward, this time in the shape of Mattie Donnelly who kicked all five of his points by half-time.

Mayo chopped and changed their full-back line to counter his influence but couldn’t hold him and he had knocked over three by the time McCurry slotted home his first goal in the 21st minute.

The score catapulted Tyrone into a seven-point lead, 1-6 to 0-2, although Mayo returned with three without reply, Gallagher’s effort in the 22nd minute ending an 18-minute barren spell.

In winning a free for McCurry to convert and then kicking over his fifth, Donnelly showed further convincing proof that his conversion to the full-forward line has been a success.

He might have put Tyrone out of sight in first half injury-time only for Tiarnan McCann’s hand-pass to be too high for him.

Mayo, having made no less than four substitutes at the interval, would have started the second half in blistering fashion but for Conan Grugan blocking a goalbound Aidan O’Shea shot. Their attempt at eating into Tyrone’s lead was also foiled by a disappointing close-range McLoughlin free, which fell short.

Substitute Conor McAliskey’s 42nd minute point was a marvellous kick, restoring Tyrone’s seven-point advantage.

Two minutes later and McCurry was guilty of Tyrone’s first wide, a hefty statistic supporting their economy in front of the posts. By the end, though, he was being rightly saluted by the 6,351 Omagh crowd as he made his way off to be replaced by Paddy McNeice.

After letting the same lead slip to Derry eight days previous, Mickey Harte had few complaints this time round. “It is nice to stave off the relegation problem, and it could take a long time to get another two points. It is better to be in a place where if you get two more you would be looking at the right side of the table rather than the wrong side.”

Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry (2-4, 0-1f), Mattie Donnelly (0-5), C McGinley (0-2), P Harte, C McAliskey, N Morgan (free), R O’Neill (free) (0-1 each).

Scorers for Mayo: A Gallagher (0-9, 6f), K McLoughlin (0-2), C Carolan, K Higgins, L Keegan, B Gallagher, A Moran (0-1 each).

TYRONE: N Morgan; A McCrory, C Clarke, B Tierney; C McGinley, P Harte, T McCann; C Cavanagh, C Gurgan; E McKenna, S McGuigan, P Hughes; D McCurry, Mattie Donnelly, R O’Neill.

Subs for Tyrone: C McAliskey for P Hughes (ht), S Cavanagh for E McKenna, Mark Donnelly for S McGuigan (both 51), D Carlin for R Tierney (58), P McNeice for D McCurry (70+2).

MAYO: R Hennelly; C Boyle, G Cafferkey, K Keane; L Keegan, S McHale, D Drake; J Gibbons, A O’Shea; D O’Connor, K Higgins, C Carolan; A Moran, K McLoughlin, A Gallagher.

Subs for Mayo: S Coen for K Keane, B Harrison for C Boyle (inj), B Gallagher for D O’Connor, M Conroy for C Carolan (all ht), J Doherty for G Cafferkey (inj, 58), A Freeman for L Keegan (inj, 65).

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

Game-changer

Mayo had caught scent of Tyrone before Darren McCurry struck his second goal in the 63rd minute sealing the home side’s victory.

Talk of the town

Either the potency of the Tyrone inside forward line or the number of injuries stacking up for Mayo.

Did that just happen?

Tyrone registered their first wide in the 44th minute and only added a couple thereafter.

Best on show

A toss-up between any of the Tyrone full-forward line but we hand it to McCurry for his finishing.

Black card watch

None shown although there was plenty of dissent, which can technically be cited as a black card offence.

Sideline superior

An unfair contest given the amount of injuries James Horan was faced with during the game.

The man in black

Padraig Hughes was a busy man in issuing frees, but didn’t reach for the cards as much as he should have.

What’s next?

Tyrone travel to Newbridge on March 2, the same afternoon Mayo host fellow pointless Kerry in Castlebar.


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