Tyrone pay price for poor first-half showing against Fingal
Division 3A: Tyrone 1-17 Fingal 4-10
TYRONE paid a heavy price for first half defensive lapses which cost them three goals, and despite a heroic comeback after the break, they fell just short, after conceding a fourth goal which sent Fingal away from Healy Park with two precious NHL Division 3A points.
The game had slipped almost beyond Kevin Ryan’s side by the time they discovered the spark that was to ignite their challenge.
They trailed by seven points at one start, and by four at the interval, but a Conor Grogan goal sparked their revival.
Damien Casey’s 12-point tally carried them to within touching distance, but 14-man Fingal struck again for a fourth goal from top scorer Kieran O’Sullivan.
“It’s down to our own first half performance,” said Ryan.
“It was a disappointing result, but the whole regret is the first half. We just didn’t work as hard.
“There were a couple of goals against the run of play, but we didn’t work hard to stop the goals.
“We had a lot of ball in our forward line for the first 10 or 15 minutes, we didn’t work hard enough to keep it.”
But the Waterford man was heartened by the character and courage shown by his players in the second period.
“In fairness, in the second half, the heart and spirit and pride that is in there came out of them.”
Tyrone’s first setback came in the sixth minute when Paul Graves sent in a long ball, which was fetched by Simon Owens, who laid off for TJ Howard to slot home a Fingal goal in the sixth minute.
But the Red Hands regrouped and started to enjoy territorial advantage.
Initially, they shot a rash of wides, but gradually started to find the range, with Conor Grogan sweeping over a point, before Damien Casey added two more, one of them from play, to bring them level.
But Fingal struck for two more goals in the space of three minutes. First Luke Kelly sent in a shot which was well saved by Devlin, but JM Sheridan followed up to net from close range.
Three minutes later, Sheridan grabbed his second rifled home after Howard had sliced through the home defence with a menacing run.
O’Sullivan’s third left seven between the sides, but the Red Hands did finish the half strongly, Casey landing three long range frees, one of them from halfway.
Fingal led by 3-4 to 0-9 at the interval, but the home side did get themselves back into the game in the 37th minute when Grogan flashed home a goal.
Casey floated over a succession of frees, and wing back Tiernan Morgan pushed forward to land a couple of gems.
Fingal centre-back Paddy Sheridan was sent off on a second yellow card with six minutes to play, but there was to be another setback for Tyrone when O’Sullivan collected an offload from Paul Graves to fire in goal number four.