Roscommon defeat Tyrone in Omagh

June 23rd, 2024

All-Ireland SFC Preliminary Quarter-Final

Roscommon 0-14 Tyrone 0-12

By Francis Mooney at O’Neill’s Healy Park

Roscommon’s joy was painted in bright primrose and blue all over O’Neills Healy Park after they stunned Tyrone in one of the shocks of the 2024 championship.

The Rossies are on their way to Croke Park next weekend for an All-Ireland quarter-final, their reward for a fully merited two points win over Tyrone.

They brought levels of energy and drive to the contest that the Red Hands could not match, and closed the game out with grit and courage.

The Connacht men showed no fear of a Red Hand side that never managed to find fluency or momentum, but was effectively prevented from doing so by a highly motivated opponent.

Donie Smith and Diarmuid Murtagh fired over magnificent scores to give their side control on the scoreboard, and they protected the lead until the glorious end.

Roscommon seized control of the game with the wind in their backs, their energy and drive putting their opponents under constant pressure.

They pressed the kick-out aggressively and reaped the benefits, Conor Cox picking up a poor restart from Niall Morgan to nudge his side in front, after Donie Smith had cancelled out Seanie O’Donnell’s early opener.

The energy and drive of the Connacht men had the Red Hands on the back foot and looking uncertain and fearful as they scrambled to deal with the driving runs of Diarmuid Murtagh and Daire Cregg.

With the wind in their backs, they attacked from deep and pressed in numbers, forcing turnovers to use their pace and positivity in waves of attack.

After going behind briefly early on, the Rossies hit six scores on the spin to establish a comfortable lead, with Donie Smith shooting on sight as he landed a couple of mighty points.

Murtagh and Cregg ran clever lines with men in support, and points from Cox and Murtagh, followed by Smith’s third, had them 0-6 to 0-1 ahead by the 16th minute.

Unforced errors and poor shot selection hampered a Tyrone side that could find no fluency or momentum, and a rash of wides compounded their problems.

They went 13 minutes without a score before Darren McCurry landed a fine score, but the Connacht men were soon back in control, Cox and Cregg both on target.

And they almost had a goal from a turnover as Murtagh drove through the middle to fire on a shot which was brilliantly savd by Niall Morgan.

Tyrone created a goal chance of their own moments later as Ruairi Canavan sent Ciaran Daly through, but he pulled his shot wide.

At the break, Roscommon led by 0-9 to 0-3, and the Tyrone managers ran the bench at the break in an effort to find a spark.

Conn Kilpatrick was one of three subs introduced, with Peter Harte also in, along with debutant Eoin McElholm, a star of the All-Ireland U20 triumph a few weeks ago.

McElholm scored with his first touch, Darragh Canavan slotted a couple of points, and while the Rossies dropped 14 men deep, the dancing feet of Canavan prised vital openings, as he landed a magnificent point to close the gap to three.

But Roscommon continued to expose Tyrone’s shaky rearguard, making the most of isolated attacks as Cregg and Donie Smith both fired over points.

At the end of the third quarter, Davy Burke’s side was still clinging on to a three points lead, after Darren McCurry had converted a free.

As the home side chipped away at the lead through McCurry’s place kicking, the danger of the counter-attack was always there, and the quality of Roscommon’s finishing was outstanding, Murtagh hitting another gem.

Energy levels were clearly dipping for the men from Connacht as the game moved into its closing stages, as Michael McKernan narrowed the gap to a single point.

But Roscommon stood firm, and worked the move that ended with goalkeeper Conor Carroll picking out Cregg for a stoppage time clincher.

Scorers for Roscommon: D Murtagh, D Smith 0-4 each, D Cregg, C Cox (1f) 0-3 each.

Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry 0-5 (4fs), D Canavan 0-3 (1f), B Kennedy (m), S O’Donnell, M McKernan, E McElholm 0-1 each.

Roscommon: C Carroll; N Higgins, B Stack, R Dolan; D Murray, R Fallon, E McCormack; E Smith, U Harney; D Murtagh, S Cunnane, D Cregg; C Cox, D Smith, C Lavin.

Subs: R Daly for Ruane (43), C Lennon for McCormack (47), N Daly for Harney (58), K Doyle for Murtagh (69).

Tyrone: N Morgan; M McKernan, P Hampsey, N Devlin; B Cullen, M Donnelly, M O’Neill; B Kennedy, C McShane; C Daly, R Canavan, N McCarron, D McCurry, D Canavan, S O’Donnell.

Subs: C Kilpatrick for O’Neil (HT), P Harte for Cullen (HT), E McElholm for R Canavan (h-t), K McGeary for Daly (58), S O’Hare for McShane (63).

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).

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