TYRONE STEP UP

19 February 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Tyrone   2-18

Monaghan   2-13

By JOHN GRAHAM

When these sides met in the final of the Allianz Hurling League division 3A last year Tyrone won by a few points and on Sunday last in Clones they got their 2016 Division 3A campaign off to a winning start when they came with a late rally to snatch victory right at the death.

In fairness to Tyrone they were never headed during the entire contest but coming to the end of normal time Monaghan had battled back gamely, despite being reduced to 14 players with about 15 minutes of normal time remaining, with the second yellow card dismissal of Patrick Finnegan, to get the margin down to the minimum and a chance to take something from the game. However that was not how it worked out as Tyrone rallied and got a somewhat fortuitous goal with a minute of normal time remaining to push them four points clear and they hit two points in stoppage time to seal victory.

Tyrone had been the more dominant team in the first half with centre forward Damien Casey putting on a exhibition of free taking, hitting a number of excellent strikes from around the 70 metre mark to help his side to a 1-12 to 1-5 half-time lead. In the second-half Monaghan rallied with a goal four minutes after the resumption by Mark Treanor who had a huge influence in the Monaghan revival in the second-half and Tyrone were denied their earlier fluency as Monaghan chipped away at their advantage. However a few mistakes, a few missed chances and missing out on a couple of marginal calls meant they were unable to close the gap completely as Tyrone got their campaign off to a winning start and look to have completely gotten over their preseason travails.

Gerard Gilmore opened the scoring with a point for Tyrone after some 40 seconds with Stephen Lambe equalising from a free just over a minute later. Tyrone regained the lead through Aidan Kelly in the third minute with Monaghan responding only to see Mark Treanor and Sean Leonard both denied from close range and both sides missing the posts before Damien Casey added three quick fire points between the 9th and 12th minutes, two…

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