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Kerry survive, Tyrone are relegated and Cooper returns from cruciate in Omagh thriller

The teams met in Healy Park in Omagh this afternoon.

Kerry's Jonathan Lyne and Tyrone's Cathal McCarron.
Kerry's Jonathan Lyne and Tyrone's Cathal McCarron.
Image: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

Kerry 1-14
Tyrone 0-17

Paul Brennan reports from Healy Park in Omagh

TYRONE WILL PLAY Division 2 football next season after failing to beat Kerry in a cracking contest in Omagh today in what was effectively a relegation play-off.

In the absence of their manager Mickey Harte – unavailable after minor surgery earlier in the week – Tyrone put in their best performance of the league when they took the game to a Kerry team that merely needed to not lose by more than a point.

That objective looked pretty secure with less than five minutes to play as Kerry led 1-13 to 0-15, and the Kingdom led 1-14 to 0-16 going into added-time when Mattie Donnelly cracked a shot off the post with Brendan Kealy beaten.

A goal then would have nudged Tyrone into the required lead to keep them up but instead Kerry – who saw the return to Colm Cooper to action – hung on for a draw that preserves their Division One status for next season.

Sean Cavanagh and Mattie Donnelly dejected Sean Cavanagh and Mattie Donnelly dejected after Tyrone's loss. Source: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

In a scintillating contest there was just enough expansive, fast football to override the ultra-defensive set-up of both teams throughout the game. Indeed, long-range scores were the highlight of the match, but it was Paul Geaney’s 45th minute goal that essentially kept Kerry up and sent Tyrone down.

Tyrone had led by just a point at half-time, 0-8 to 0-7, and were just about value for that lead. A little wastefulness cost them another couple of scores, and Kerry would have been satisfied being within touching distance of their hosts after a stop-start first 35 minutes.
After Johnny Buckley gave Kerry an early lead, Tyrone shot into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead through two Sean Cavanagh frees and a great score from Darren McCurry.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice Source: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

Kerry kept in touch through long-range points from David Moran and Bryan Sheehan – either side of a superb Peter Harte score for Tyrone – as both teams employed a very defensive set-up. Kerry’s ploy of lumping high ball into Kieran Donaghy yielded little of value in the second half but the big man came into his own in the second half, having a hand in several Kerry scores, as well as the goal.

That arrived with Kerry leading 0-10 to 0-9, Donaghy feeding Darran O’Sullivan whose shot was saved but Geaney swept the rebound to the Tyrone net. Sean Cavanagh had a wonderful chance to respond in kind but drove his shot just wide with only Brendan Kealy to beat.

Kieran Donaghy and Justin McMahon Kerry's Kieran Donaghy in action against Tyrone. Source: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

By the 59th minute Tyrone had clawed themselves back to parity, 1-12 to 0-15, but they could never quite get out on front. With Cooper showing poise on the ball, Kerry held on for the draw – enough to keep them up, as Tyrone drop out of the top flight.

Scorers for Tyrone: Darran McCurry 0-7 (0-3f), Sean Cavanagh 0-6 (0-6f), Ronan McNabb, Peter Harte, Mattie Donnelly, Joe McMahon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: Paul Geaney 1-2, Bryan Sheehan 0-4 (0-3f), Johnny Buckley, Paul Murphy 0-2 each, David Moran, Anthony Maher, Kieran Donaghy, Darran O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Tyrone

1. Johnny Curran (Coalisland)

2. Aidan McCrory (Errigal Ciaran)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran)
4. Cathal McCarran (Dromore)

5. Ronan McNabb (Dromore)
6. Justin McMahon (Omagh)
7. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran)

8. Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
9. Padraig McNulty (Dungannon)

10. Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher)
11. Mattie Donnelly (Trillick)
12. Ryan McKenna (Eglish)

13. Darren McCurry (Edendork)
14. Sean Cavanagh (Moy)
18. Peter Hughes (Eskragh)

Subs for Tyrone:
26. Joe McMahon (Omagh) for P McNulty (HT)
15. Connor McAliskey (Clonoe) for P Hughes (HT)
19. PJ Lavery (Clonoe) for T McCann (52)
25. Ronan O’Neill (Omagh) for Justin McMahon (59)
21. Conall McCann (Killyclogher) for R McKenna (67)

Kerry

Brendan Kealy (Kilcummin)

Paul Murphy (Rathmore)
Mark Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore)
Shane Enright (Tarbert)

Jonathan Lyne (Legion)
Peter Crowley (Laune Rangers)
Killian Young (Renard)

Anthony Maher (Duagh)
David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys)

Alan Fitzgerald (Castlegregory)
Bryan Sheehan (St Marys)
Johnny Buckley (Dr Crokes)

Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)
Kieran Donaghy (Austin Stacks)
Barry John Keane (Kerins O’Rahillys)

Subs for Kerry
27. Paul Geaney (Dingle) for BJ Keane (18)
21. Darran O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for A Fitzgerald (HT)
18. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys) for S O’Brien (black, 42)
20. Marc O Se (An Ghaeltacht) for P Crowley (54)
26. Colm Cooper (Dr Crokes) for B Sheehan (62)
19. Fionn Fitzgerald (Dr Crokes) for K Young (65)

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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