One that got away for Tyrone as Roscommon battle back to win Division One opener

Kieran McGeary scored Tyrone's goal at Dr Hyde Park yesterday. Pic Philip Walsh.
Kieran McGeary scored Tyrone's goal at Dr Hyde Park yesterday. Pic Philip Walsh. Kieran McGeary scored Tyrone's goal at Dr Hyde Park yesterday. Pic Philip Walsh.

Allianz Football League Division One: Roscommon 3-11 Tyrone 1-12

THREE points up, with the wind at their backs and in their sails, Tyrone had victory in their grasp but yesterday was one that got away.

Darren McCurry was sent through one-on-one with the Roscommon ’keeper but he slipped and fumbled the ball at the vital moment and the home side made the most of their let-off.

In their next attack impact substitute Ciaran Murtagh scored the first of his two goals in a match-winning cameo and, although Tyrone (reduced to 14 men after Cormac Munroe’s black card) closed the gap to a point, Ben O’Carroll’s late major ensured Tyrone went home empty-handed.

The early stages were cat-and-mouse. Tyrone, against the breeze, had the first chance when Darragh Canavan fisted wide but O’Carroll did better a minute later when he scooped the ball over the black spot to send the Rossies into the lead.

Mattie Donnelly also shot wide for Tyrone before Rossies’ go-to man O’Carroll, causing Padraig Hampsey early headaches, slotted over another.

The Red Hands did open their account when Conor Hussey took down the slippery Canavan and Peter Harte slotted over the free. Niall Daly and Kieran McGeary swapped scores and Diarmuid Murtagh and Niall Devlin, timing his run perfectly from the right wing, did the same.

Roscommon hit back quickly through Daire Cregg and then Brian Stack and a Conor Cox free made it seven points from seven shots for the home side. Tyrone’s return was three from eight.

Four points’ down, Tyrone didn’t panic or change tactics and Roscommon’s Daly showed what having the wind at their backs would mean for the visitors when his shot floated serenely over the bar.

David Mulgrew conjured up a much-needed score and Canavan’s curler left a manageable three in it (0-8 to 0-5) at the break. It should have been two but Harte missed a straightforward chance on the whistle.

Tyrone had looked flat in the first half but they began the second with purpose. Kilpatrick hammered the ball long and straight for Donnelly and, after he was bundled over, McCurry (on for McShane) clipped over the free.

McCurry added another with an expert finish and Niall Morgan’s free levelled the game less than four minutes’ into the half.

Roused by the passionate home support, the Rossies dug in and Cox’s free (moved up because of an off-the-ball foul by Devlin) edged them ahead and then midfielder Tadhg O’Rourke punched a hole in the Tyrone defence but Ruane’s flick hit the side netting.

Tyrone had a goal chance of their own a minute later and they took it. Morgan’s free drifted into the Roscommon square and Kieran McGeary, with his back to goal, fisted the ball into the net.

Diarmuid Murtagh was crowded out as he tried to reply and McCurry was on the end of the break to fire Tyrone into a three-point lead.

The Red Hands were in control then and McCurry could have finished it a couple of minutes later when Canavan’s ball put him through with only the goalkeeper to beat.

He fumbled and Roscommon grabbed the lifeline.

The Tyrone defence failed to deal with a high ball into their square and when it broke to Ciaran Murtagh he cracked his shot into the corner of Morgan’s net to level at 1-9 apiece with 15 minutes’ left.

It got worse for Tyrone. O’Carroll wriggled free down the left and fisted the ball across the square. Conor Meyler got hands to it but Ciaran Murtagh got the final touch and the ball bobbled across the line.

And it got worse still. Cormac Munroe was black-carded leaving Tyrone down to 14 men for the closing stages.

Canavan landed a free to keep them in the hunt but the Rossie’s kept the ball and ran down the clock until Ciaran Murtagh (an impact sub and-a-half) increased his tally to 2-1 with a brilliant finish.

Tyrone tried to pull the fat out of the fire. Richie Donnelly and Niall Sludden scores left one in it with a couple of minutes left but Daly’s third doubled the lead before six minutes of injury-time were announced.

Almost four of them had gone by the time Canavan dragged a free wide and when Keith Doyle grabbed the break from the kick-out, the Rossies swept forward in a brilliant move that ended with O’Carroll placing an excellent finish past Morgan.

One that got away for Tyrone and they could regret it at the final reckoning of this nip-and-tuck division.

Roscommon: C Carroll; C Hussey, C Daly, E McCormack; D Ruane, B Stack (0-1), N Daly (0-3); T O’Rourke, K Doyle; R Dolan, D Cregg (0-1), C Lennon; D Murtagh (0-1), C Cox (0-2 frees), B O’Carroll (1-2)

Subs: E Smith for Lennon (43), C Murtagh (2-1) for Cox (50), R Hughes for Ruane (50), D Murray for McCormack (54), D Smith for D Murtagh (61)

Yellow card: D Cregg (40)

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-1 free); M McKernan, C Munroe, P Hampsey; C Quinn, P Harte (0-1 free), N Devlin (0-1); B Kennedy, K McGeary (1-1); D Mulgrew (0-1), C Kilpatrick, C Meyler; C McShane, M Donnelly, D Canavan (0-2, 0-1 free)

Subs: D McCurry (0-3, 0-1 free) for McShane (HT), R Jones for Donnelly (53), N Sludden (0-1) for McGeary (60), R Donnelly (0-1) for Mulgrew (60)

Yellow cards: M Donnelly (53), McCurry (68)

Black card: Munroe (58)

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)