Tyrone got their Super 8’s campaign off to the best possible start as they overcame Roscommon in a one-sided affair in front of a muted crowed in Croke Park this afternoon.
Fintan Cregg opened the scoring for Roscommon, pinging a lovely score over from the 45 metre line to counter the swarming Tyrone defence. They were afforded plenty of space in the middle of the field, allowing them to create opportunities for the Murtagh brothers who managed to force frees.
However at the other end, Tyrone were able to easily open the Roscommon defence with Richie Donnelly and Niall Sludden taking advantage. They slipped into the lead after 12 minutes when Enda Smith made an uncharacteristically poor pass that was intercepted by Sludden who linked up with Connor McAliskey before finishing past Colm Lavin himself.
Great Finish from Niall Sludden. pic.twitter.com/h7mBy84dv6
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 14, 2018
Mickey Harte’s men were dealt a huge blow when Cathal McCarron was forced off with a knee injury after just 18 minutes following an accidental collision. A wonderful point from play from Ciaráin Murtagh added to their woes but Tyrone pushed on and came away with a score every time they challenged the Roscommon defence with Conor Meyler and Cathal McShane managing to drift off their markers and point.
As the Rossies’ energy began to flag, Tyrone were able to pick them apart with Peter Harte and Niall Sludden making a huge impact. Roscommon were able to create chances but a lack of communication meant their last pass went astray and Tyrone were able to turn over possession, Donnelly adding his second score on the stroke of half-time.
Unlike last week, Roscommon were lacking urgency and creativity around the middle of the field and they looked like they were out of ideas as they went 23 minutes without a score. But Smith soon rectified that as he went on one of his trademark runs and blasted the ball to the corner of Niall Morgan’s goal. Two frees from the Murtagh brothers reduced the deficit to just four points. But it was just too easy for Tyrone to slice through the Roscommon defence. Donnelly and Sludden added further points before a well worked team move was finished by Conor Meyler who tucked the ball into the net.
With the game all but wrapped up, Mickey Harte began to empty his bench to rest his players before their big outing against Dublin next weekend. With Peter Harte supplying wonderful ball and with confidence sky high, Conor McShane and substitute, Declan McClure picked off east scores. Ciaráin Murtagh did claw back a goal for Roscommon but that was soon cancelled out by a penalty from Harte after Hugh Pat McGeary was fouled in the box.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 14, 2018
Tyrone now have a clash with Dublin in Omagh to look forward to while Roscommon have to pick themselves up and go again against Donegal next weekend.
Roscommon: Colm Lavin; David Murray, John McManus, Niall McInerney; Niall Daly, Fintan Cregg (0-1), Conor Devaney (0-1); Tadhg O’Rourke, Enda Smith (1-0); Ciaráin Murtagh (1-3, 2f), Niall Kilroy, Cathal Cregg; Diarmuid Murtagh (0-5, 3f), Cathal Compton, Donie Smith.
Substitutions: Finbarr Cregg for D Smith (HT) Gary Patterson for Daly (45) Conor Daly (0-1) for F Cregg (52) Shane Killoran for C Murtagh (62) Padraig Kelly (0-1) for E Smith (64)
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Michael McKernan (0-1), Ronan McNamee (0-1), Cathal McCarron, Tiarnan McCann, (0-1) Frank Burns, Peter Harte (1-3, 3f, 1 pen), Colm Cavanagh, Pádraig Hampsey; Matthew Donnelly (0-1), Niall Sludden (1-2), Conor Meyler (1-1); Cathal McShane (0-2), Richard Donnelly (1-4), Connor McAliskey (0-4, 3f).
Substitution: Hugh Pat McGeary for McCarron (18) Kieran McGeary for Meyler (50) Declan McClure (0-1) for Cavanagh (51) Mark Bradley (0-2) for McAliskey (54) Rory Brennan (0-1) for McKernan (57) Ronan O’Neill for Sludden (58)