TYRONE 4-24 ROSCOMMON 2-12
By Barry O’Donnell
TYRONE ushered in the new GAA Super 8s format with a stunning eighteen point demolition of Roscommon on Saturday night at Croke Park.
Goals from Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler, Peter Harte (penalty) and man of the match Richard Donnelly helped to ease the Red Hands to an emphatic Group 2 victory, with games yet to come against Dublin and Donegal.
Thirteen different players got on the scoresheet for Tyrone as they made light work of the challenge of the shell-shocked westerners to send out a real statement of intent in this revamped All-Ireland Quarter-Final structure.
Tyrone led 0-4 to 0-3 after a lively opening ten minutes before Sludden found the net with a sharp finish at the near post.
The Rossies in fairness began the match in determined fashion, with Ciaran Murtagh and Enda Smith catching the eye, and by the 22nd minute they had reduced the arrears to 1-4 to 0-6.
The Red Hands however reeled off the last six points of the first period, with defenders Ronan McNamee and Michael McKernan slotting a couple of quality efforts, to establish a 1-10 to 0-6 interval advantage.
Roscommon were given a glimmer of hope when Smith crashed home a goal on the restart, but with Richard Donnelly a potent targetman on the edge of the opposition square, Tyrone were able to quickly reassert supremacy.
Conor Meyler capped a whirlwind break with a cool finish to the net and with subs Mark Bradley and Declan McClure getting in on the scoring spree the rampant Ulster men pulled clear.
A fine Ciaran Murtagh goal was quickly cancelled out by Harte’s spot kick conversion after a foul on Hugh Pat McGeary, and right at the last Richard Donnelly fisted home a goal which his exertions on the day deserved.
The only negative on the day for Tyrone was the sight of experienced duo Cathal McCarron and Colm Cavanagh both hobbling out of the action with knocks.
Next up for Tyrone is a much anticipated home match with Dublin in front of a sell-out crowd at Healy Park on Saturday night. The reigning All-Ireland kingpins accounted for Donegal 2-15 to 0-16 in the second part of the Croke Park Group 2 double header.