It may have been a dead rubber in Omagh this afternoon but there was no shortage of excitement in the build-up when news filtered through that Diarmuid Connolly was set to make his first Championship appearance for Dublin in 686 days.
As the action got underway it was Tyrone who struck first blood through Conal McCann in the opening minute of the game, however, it took Paddy Small moments later to reply for Dublin.
Cormac Costello was back in the starting line-up and hit three-in-a-row sandwiched in between a Conor McAliskey score.
When Sean Bulger struck Dublin’s fifth point from five attempts it looked as though the All-Ireland champions could kick on, however, Tyrone came roaring back into the game and moments later could have had a goal when a long-ball into the full-forward line deceived Rory O’Carroll and left McAliskey with a golden opportunity to rattle the net, however, Evan Comerford stood strong and made a good stop.
Richie Donnelly fired over to close the gap to two-points but Paddy Small and Costello pointed for Dublin, however, following some patient build-up play, Donnelly struck his second-in-a-row before McAliskey pointed from play to leave just a two-point gap between the sides with ten minutes left in the half.
The final score of the half went to Costello who scored from a free-kick to leave the half-time score at 0-8 to 0-5 in favour of Dublin.
Dublin led by three at the break but Tyrone continually asked questions of their defence when pumping in a long diagonal ball on top of the Dublin full-back line.
Kevin McManamon struck his first of the day straight after the restart before McAliskey and Kyle Coney pointed to reduce the gap to two after 40 minutes. McAliskey found a score yet again for Tyrone, however, it came either side of points from Bulger and Costello as Dublin continued to keep some sort of breathing room between the two sides.
With the score at 0-11 to 0-8, Tyrone had a huge opportunity to score a vital goal. In fact, they had two opportunities. First, Conal McCann barged his way through before clipping the ball off the crossbar. Philly McMahon collected the loose ball but his hand pass clearance only found McAliskey. The full-forward had goal on his mind but with a shield of Dublin defenders facing him, his shot was deflected wide.
Equally, Dublin could have had a goal of their own more or less straight away when a long ball into the full-forward line was smartly flicked to Costello by Bernard Brogan, who had just been introduced. Costello went for goal but Gallen saved well.
Donnelly and Bugler traded points bringing both of their tallies to three for the day before Coney hit his second from a placed ball as the game entered the final 20 minutes with Dublin leading by 0-12 to 0-10.
Diarmuid Connolly had largely gone missing in the second period but stood up when needed as he collected a pass from Brogan before playing a smart one-two with Costello and chipping over with his left boot to increase the gap to three heading down the home stretch.
As injury time loomed, Brogan hit his first score of the Championship before Niall Sludden and McAliskey reduced the gap to three points with three minutes remaining.
Tyrone were very much still in the game, however, the trademark of this great Dublin side is their ability to see games out and they did just that with the experienced duo, Eoghan O’Gara (goal) and Kevin McManamon (point), notching 1-1 to kill off the Red Hand challenge.