Colm Gannon reports from Omagh
KEVIN MCLOUGHLIN WAS the hero for Mayo kicking the winning score and securing two vital league points for Stephen Rochford’s side in their battle to avoid the drop to Division 2 on a sweltering spring afternoon in Healy Park in Omagh.
Mayo were the model of efficiency in front of goal in the second half kicking four points from their five attempts, while the home side steered seven efforts wide in the closing 35 minutes plus injury time.
It was a bone crunching encounter, that saw three black cards shown, two for Mayo and one for Tyrone – as neither side would take a step back from each other in front of a crowd of 7,850 paying spectators.
Paddy Durcan opened the scoring when he kicked over on the run five minutes in to put the visitors in front for the first time. Darren McCurry tied it up for the first of many times in the game with a well struck effort from out the park a minute later and not long after Mark Bradley, who kicked three outstanding points, got his first of the day to put Mickey Harte’s men into the lead.
Shane Nally bent over a beautiful score on the run 12 minutes to level it up for a second time and Kevin McLoughlin edged Mayo back in front 60 seconds later.
Niall Sludden kicked Tyrone’s third point of the afternoon just before the quarter of an hour mark and two minutes later he was making his way to the side line after being shown the first black card of the day for a foul on Lee Keegan.
Cillian O’Connor converted the free from that incident to put Mayo into a 0-4 to 0-3 lead.
Tyrone kicked the next three points without reply, through Kieran McGeary, Darren McCurry and a Sean Cavanagh free.
Just before Cavanagh’s point, Mayo were shown their first black card of the day when Lee Keegan was sent to the line for an early bath for a foul on Ronan McNabb.
Seven minutes from the short whistle Mayo got the vital score in this game, Fergal Boland found Cillian O’Connor and the Mayo captain picked out Andy Moran inside the Tyrone cover.
Tom Parsons was breaking at pace off his shoulder and Moran put it into his path before the Charlestown man fired it low past Niall Morgan in the Tyrone goal.
Cillian O’Connor stretched Mayo’s lead out to two with a well taken score not long after that, with Bradley responding with one of the scores of the day selling Colm Boyle a dummy before swinging it over the bar form 30 meters out.
Paddy Durcan kicked his second point of the day on 32 minutes, before Sean Cavanagh showed his brilliance with a top class effort under pressure from the Mayo defence, to leave the hosts trailing 0-8 to 1-6 at the turn around.
The second half didn’t match the first in terms of scoring return, but it was was no less intense on the field as both sides gave everything they had to secure the two points on offer.
The first score of the half came nine minutes in through as Kieran McGeary effort, with was responded to by a 45’ from Cillian O’Connor.
Danny Kirby became the third man to see a black card on the 50 minute mark and Niall Morgan kicked Tyrone level less than a minute later.
Tiernan McCann put the home team back into a narrow lead two minutes later, but O’Connor brought the game back to parity with his fourth of the day.
With 15 minutes to go he kicked his fifth and final point to edge his team back into the lead on a score of 1-9 to 0-11.
Bradley responded for the Ulster champions with his third point of the afternoon on 57 minutes and the pressure began to mount for both sides as the final whistle came into view.
Tyrone missed a few chances from distance as Mayo struggled to create chances in the scoring zone.
But with two minutes of injury time gone, Kevin McLoughlin who had moved into the full forward position, won the ball out in front of his marker and swung over a brilliant point to win the day for Mayo and leave their status in the top flight in their own hands, when the take on Donegal next weekend.
Scorers for Tyrone: Mark Bradley 0-3, Darren McCurry, Kieran McGeary, Sean Cavanagh (0-1f) 0-2 each, Niall Sludden, Tiernan McCann, Niall Morgan (0-1 1f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O’Connor 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1 45’), Tom Parsons 1-0, Kevin McLoughlin, Patrick Durcan 0-2 each, Shane Nally 0-1.
1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
2. Brendan Harrision (Aghamore)
3. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
4. Chris Barrett (Belmullet)
5. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
6. Lee Keegan (Westport)
7. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
8. Tom Parsons (Charlestown)
9. Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels)
10. Fergal Boland (Aghamore)
11. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)
21. Shane Nally (Garrymore)
13. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
14. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
26. David Drake (Ballaghderren)
19. Stephen Coen (Hollymount-Carramore) for Keegan (BC)
24. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber) for Boland
25. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy) for Moran
20. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe) for Kirby (BC)
12. Conor O’Shea (Breaffy) for Nally
22. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole) for Drake
1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)
2. Padraig Hampsey (Coalisland)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghayaran)
4. Cathal McCarron (Dromore)
21. Ronan McNabb (Dromore)
18. Aidan McCrory (Errigal Ciarán)
7. Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher)
8. Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
19. Darren McCurry (Edendork)
10. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)
11. Niall Sludden (Dromore)
12. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán)
13. Mark Bradley (Killyclogher)
14. Sean Cavanagh (Moy)
15. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick)
24. Conor Myler (Omagh) for Sludden (BC)
23. Cathal McShane(Eoghan Roe O’Neill’s) for McNamee
26. Harry Loughran (Moy) for McNabb
25. Jonathan Monroe (Carrickmore) for McCrory
Ref: Conor Lane (Cork)
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