LET the hype machine go into overdrive – Tyrone have qualified for the All-Ireland SFC final for only the sixth time in our proud history.
This crop of players could easily have folded under the pressure of emulating their legendary counterparts from the noughties, but they played their part in yet another dramatic finish to take the spoils in today’s All-Ireland semi-final against Monaghan.
While Red Hands started off at the blistering pace, the game soon settled into its familiar pattern – Tyrone would score a point or two and Monaghan would return the serve in kind.
In fact, as the game entered it’s closing stages, it appeared more likely that the Farney County were going to come out on top as they edged into the lead for the very first time in the 60th minute.
Cometh the hour, cometh Niall Sludden, who finished soccer-style to the net a few minutes later, and while Tyrone hardly cruised over the finish line, All-Ireland semi-finals, as the man says, are for winning.
Team boss Mickey Harte spoke passionately after the game about how much this means to not only the players, but to Tyrone’s fanatical supporters as well.
However, the wider GAA community probably aren’t about to switch horses at this stage of the championship after a fairly error-strewn performances.
Dublin will go in as raging hot favourites on September 2, but that’s for another day as Tyrone fans can savour their first All-Ireland semi-final victory since 2008 – and we all know what happened after that.
The Scorers – Tyrone – Niall Sludden 1-2, Connor McAliskey 0-4 (2f), Peter Harte 0-2 (1f), Colm Cavanagh 0-1, Lee Brennan 0-1 (1f), Tiarnan McCann 0-1, Frank Burns 0-1, Cathal McShane 0-1.
Monaghan – Conor McManus 0-7 (6f), Conor McCarthy 0-3, Kieran Hughes 0-2, Drew Wylie 0-1, Fintan Kelly 0-1.
The Teams – Tyrone – Niall Morgan, Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee, Kieran McGeary, Tiarnan McCann, Frank Burns, Peter Harte, Colm Cavanagh, Padraig Hampsey, Matthew Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Cathal McShane, Mark Bradley, Richard Donnelly, Connor McAliskey.
Subs – Harry Loughran for F Burns (half-time), Mark Bradley for L Brennan (48), Rory Brennan for R McNamee (50), Conal McCann for R Donnelly (57), Declan McClure for C McShane (62), Ronan O’Neill for C McAliskey (62).
Monaghan – Rory Beggan, Kieran Duffy, Drew Wylie, RyanWylie, Colin Walshe, Vinny Corey, Karl O’Connell, Niall Kearns, Darren Hughes, Ryan McAnespie, Shane Carey, Conor McCarthy, Dermot Malone, Fintan Kelly, Conor McManus.
Subs – Dessie Mone for D Malone (45), Kieran Hughes for S Carey (51), J McCarron for V Corey (68).
Referee – Anthony Nolan, Wicklow