All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Dubs defeat spirited Red Hands

July 21, 2018

Tyrone's Tiernan McCann and Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin

Dublin were always in control and came away from Omagh with a 1-14 to 0-14 Super 8s Phase Two victory over Tyrone.

With 16,205 in attendance, the hosts kept fighting until the end but Jim Gavin's men looked capable of moving through the gears almost at will. James McCarthy netted the all-important goal five minutes into the second half, the winners leading from the 21st minute onwards after a cagey start. Tyrone never gave up but were ultimately unable to get back on terms as Dublin comfortaly kept them at arm's length.

Victory sends the record-breaking Dubs through to the semi-finals as Group Two winners (with a dead-rubber game against Roscommon to come in a fortnight), while Tyrone can join them in the last four if they avoid defeat against Ulster champions Donegal in Ballybofey.

Points from established defenders Jack McCaffrey, John Small, Man of the Match Brian Howard and Philly McMahon had the relentless four-in-a-row-chasing Sam Maguire Cup holders ahead by 0-7 to 0-5 at half time. All five of Tyrone's first-half scores were sent over by defenders, with Peter Harte (2), Michael McKernan, Tiernan McCann and Frank Burns splitting the posts.

There were three late changes to the Dublin starting XV: McCaffrey replaced Michael Fitzsimons, Eoin Murchan came in for Michael Darragh MacAuley and Small got the nod ahead of Paddy Andrews. Dublin were playing an away championship game for the first time in twelve years and the pitch had been narrowed to make them feel as uncomfortable as possible on northern soil. But nothing, it seems, fazes this great Dubs side.

Dean Rock spun to open the scoring in the fourth minute - the only first-half score from play registered by a forward! - but the hosts soon led after Harte replied from a free five minutes later before punctuating a superb counter with a right-footed score from play. Rock's simple free had them level on two points apiece after twelve frantic minutes.

McCaffrey's wonderful strike had the Dubs back in front at the midway stage in the first half but McCann - who might well have been black-carded earlier for a foul on McMahon - equalised only for Howard to restore the Dubs' lead. McMahon made it 0-5 to 0-3 after 22 minutes with a sublime point off the outside of his right foot and a retaken Rock free from in front of the posts made it double scores six minutes from the break.

Burns and McKernan came upfield and registered inspirational Tyrone points at the town end but Dublin replied with a magnificent effort from Small to lead by two at the end of an intense and fierce opening period.

McAliskey's long-range strike bypassed the blanket Dublin defence to halve the deficit at the start of the second half. But the outstanding Ciaran Kilkenny exploited a Colm Cavanagh mistake to reply and the Dubs moved five points clear in the 40th minute when - with injured home full back Ronan McNamee departed - the quick-thinking, improvising McCarthy played a one-two with Brian Fenton and fisted to the net whilst falling after Niall Morgan had saved his initial shot - 1-8 to 0-6.

Rock replied with a brace after Cathal McShane and McAliskey ('45') pointed for the hosts; substitutes Kevin McManamon and Mark Bradley traded scores; McShane and Harte (free) had it back to a three-point game with eight minutes left.

But points from Kilkenny and Rock (free) snuffed out any potential of a successful Tyrone fightback.

Substitutes Kieran McGeary and Harry Loughran pulled back two more points as the northerners battled back within three points once more with as many minutes left. McGeary got his second and Tyrone's chances went up in smoke when fellow sub Ronan O'Neill missed a free deep into added time before Paul Flynn - what a man to be bringing off the bench! - got on the end of a break to close the scoring.

The Leinster and All-Ireland champions have now gone 25 championship games without losing.

Dublin - S Cluxton; J Cooper, P McMahon (0-1), E Murchan; J Small (0-1), C O'Sullivan, J McCaffrey (0-1); B Fenton, J McCarthy (1-0); N Scully, C O'Callaghan, B Howard (0-1); D Rock (0-6, 4f), C Kilkenny (0-2), P Mannion. Subs: C Costello for P Mannion, K McManamon (0-1) for N Scully, M Fitzsimons for P McMahon, P Flynn (0-1) for B Howard, D Daly for J Small, M D Macauley for J McCarthy.

Tyrone - N Morgan; H P McGeary, R McNamee, M McKernan (0-1); T McCann (0-1), M Donnelly, F Burns (0-1); C Cavanagh, P Hampsey; N Sludden, P Harte (0-3, 2f), C Meyler; C McShane (0-2), R Donnelly, C McAliskey (0-2, 1f). Subs: R Brennan for R McNamee, M Bradley (0-1) for C McAliskey, K McGeary (0-2) for F Burns, D McClure for C Cavanagh, H Loughran (0-1) for C Meyler, R O'Neill for N Sludden.

Referee - D Coldrick.

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