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Tyrone hold on for dramatic extra-time success over Kerry to reach All-Ireland final

Mayo await in the final on Saturday 11 September.

Tyrone 3-14

Kerry 0-22

(After extra-time)

A GAME THAT took so long to take place, that was twice postponed, eventually required over 100 minutes of action before it delivered Tyrone as the victor.

jack-barry-with-frank-burns-and-michael-oneill Jack Barry with Frank Burns and Michael O'Neill. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A team that had operated under a Covid cloud for the last few weeks and looked on the cusp of an exit at stages of this game, mounted a revival to stun Kerry in extra-time and set up a novel All-Ireland decider with Mayo.

Tyrone conjured a recovery in normal time that almost saw them snatch success before extra-time kicked in. They struggled during the second half for scores, had to cope with the setbacks of Niall Sludden and Darren McCurry both receiving black cards at different stages, but were still hanging grimly in contention by the 68th minute, trailing 0-15 to 1-10.

Then Mattie Donnelly engineered some room with his ball-carrying skills, released the lightning pace of Darragh Canavan who accelerated through before smashing in a shot that Shane Ryan tipped away with a reflex save. Cathal McShane reacted quicker than everyone else, palming in the goal that put Tyrone in front.

Then in the allotted nine minutes of injury time, the excitement and tension were ratcheted up after a fairly turgid phase of football had ensued. Sean O’Shea’s free drew Kerry level, Darren McCurry swung over a 75th minute point to restore Tyrone’s advantage before a David Clifford shot two minutes later proved the last scoring act. Neither team could summon the bit of magic to nail a winner.

cathal-mcshane-celebrates-a-score Cathal McShane celebrates Tyrone's goal. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The vital phase for Tyrone came at the beginning of extra-time as they hit the Kerry defence for 1-2. McShane supplied the points and Conor McKenna drilled home the goal, a point effort by Kieran McGeary dropping short and breaking to the Eglish man who finished into the far corner of the net.

Kerry tried to rally with Paul Murphy, Diarmuid O’Connor and O’Shea chipping in with points, McShane grabbed one during that phase and it left Tyrone ahead 3-14 to 0-20 at the midway mark of extra-time.

Just the two scores in that second phase of extra-time, courtesy of Paudie Clifford and Paul Geaney for Kerry to cut that gap to the minimum but that levelling point did not arrive. Their last shot fell to Tommy Walsh under immense pressure from the Tyrone defence but it drifted wide and the Ulster champions held on for a famous triumph.

sean-oshea-and-diarmuid-oconnor-dejected Dejected Kerry players after the game.

kieran-mcgeary-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle Kieran McGeary celebrates Tyrone's win. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kerry’s attacking inspiration in the first half was completely sourced from two players. David Clifford (0-5) and Sean O’Shea (0-4) provided the entirety of the Kingdom’s scoring return. Clifford threw over a few majestic efforts from play, O’Shea’s placed ball striking was exemplary.

But Kerry passed up more scores when they were there to be put on the board, notably in the 21st minute when a goal chance was messed up. A neat team move involving Dara Moynihan and Paul Geaney culminated in the latter passing to Stephen O’Brien in front of an open goal, yet he touched the ball on the ground in the process of nudging it into the net.

It was costly as a result of Tyrone hitting the net at the other end three minutes later. Unusually the move started from David Clifford’s attempt at a solo not coming off and after Tyrone grabbed the ball, they countered from deep in defence.

mike-breen-with-conor-mckenna-and-frank-burns Mike Breen with Conor McKenna and Frank Burns. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Kieran McGeary, Peter Harte and Niall Sludden pieced it together before the way was paved for Conor McKenna to calmly slot past Kerry goalkeeper Shane Ryan.

It didn’t rattle Kerry too badly, they had dragged themselves level approaching the break courtesy of that Clifford-O’Shea scoring double act.

An outrageous kick boomed over from past the 65-yard line by Niall Morgan was required to edge Tyrone ahead at the break, that pointed free leaving it 1-7 to 0-9 in their favour.

Scorers for Tyrone: Conor McKenna 2-0, Cathal McShane 1-3 (0-1f), Darren McCurry 0-4 (0-2f), Niall Morgan 0-2 (0-1 ’45, 0-1f), Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee, Pádraig Hampsey, Peter Harte, Mattie Donnelly (0-1 mark) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: David Clifford (0-3f, 0-1 mark), Seán O’Shea (0-6f, 0-1 ’45) 0-8 each, Paudie Clifford 0-2, Paul Murphy, Diarmuid O’Connor, Paul Geaney, Tom O’Sullivan 0-1 each.


1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2. Michael McKernan (Coalisland), 3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran), 4. Pádraig Hampsey (Coalisland – captain).

5. Tiarnan McCann (Killyclogher), 6. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy), 7. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciarán).

8. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan), 9. Conn Kilpatrick (Edendork). 

10. Conor Meyler (Omagh), 11. Michael O’Neill (Ardboe), 12. Niall Sludden (Dromore).

13. Darren McCurry (Edendork), 14. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick), 15. Conor McKenna (Eglish).


23. Cathal McShane (Eoghan Roe O’Neills) for Kennedy (43)

5. Tiarnan McCann (Killyclogher) for O’Neill (55)

19. Darragh Canavan (Errigal Ciarán) for Sludden (64)

21. Ben McDonnell (Errigal Ciarán) for Kilpatrick (72)

25. Liam Rafferty (Galbally) for Harte (76)

17. Mark Bradley (Killyclogher) for McCurry (76)


1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Mike Breen (Beaufort), 6. Paul Murphy (Rathmore) (capt), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)


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8. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys), 9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil).

10. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil), 11. Seán O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks), 12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks)

13. David Clifford (Fossa), 14. Paul Geaney (Dingle), 15. Paudie Clifford (Fossa).


20. Killian Spillane (Templenoe) for Moynihan (half-time)

19. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe) for Breen (49)

10. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil) for O’Brien (55)

17. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe) for Geaney (55)

21. Tommy Walsh (Kerins O’Rahillys) for Moran (59)

14. Geaney (Dingle) for Clifford (inj) (start of extra-time)

18. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe) for Ó Beaglaoich (start of extra-time)

24. Jack Sherwood (Firies) for Barry (78)

23. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for Foley (80)

22. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) for Tom O’Sullivan (86)

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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