Home GAA Five Talking Points As Tyrone’s Second-Half Tour De Force Sees Off Down In Ulster Final

Five Talking Points As Tyrone’s Second-Half Tour De Force Sees Off Down In Ulster Final

Tyrone are Ulster champions after a strong second-half showing saw them see off Down on a scoreline of 2-17 to 0-15. 

As Sean Cavanagh and co. now head for Croke Park, we look at five talking points from this afternoon’s clash.

5. Down Take The Fight To Tyrone

Down fans flocked to Clones in their thousands this afternoon, perhaps more in hope than expectation. Following Tyrone’s dominant win over Donegal in the semi-final, not many expected the Mourne men to mount any huge challenge.

However, throughout the first half, they absorbed the Tyrone attack, flooding men around Sean Cavanagh anytime he got on the ball.

Heading into the break, there was a real sense of optimism amongst the Down faithful.

4. Tyrone’s Extra Gear

The game was very much in the melting pot at half-time, as Down felt that they should have been closer than the two-point deficit, particularly after Darragh O’Hanlon missed a golden opportunity to raise the green flag.

Whatever Mickey Harte said at half-time, it certainly worked as they went out to score the first seven points after the break, putting real daylight between the two sides.

Ronan O’Neill came off the bench to rattle the net twice, as it was ultimately a facile victory for the Red Hand.

3. Entertainment Value

At half-time, 12 points for the game was quite low. It was an Ulster final after all. Nonetheless, we were treated to a somewhat open game of football.

Credit must be given to referee Joe McQuillan, who let the game flow well without losing control at any point.

The atmosphere in the ground amongst the 31,912 in attendance was matched by the spectacle on hand.

2. Are The Red Hand All-Ireland Contenders?

The reigning Ulster champions came into today’s clash as heavy favourites and backed it all up. While they ran into a fired-up Down side, they swallowed up the pressure and showed their class after the break.

They now look like a side capable of mixing it with Dublin and Kerry in the coming weeks.

All focus must be on the quarter-final. With three of the last four Ulster champions falling at the following hurdle, this will be key.

1. Where To Now For Down?

Down head for the qualifiers, but can take positives from their challenge in Clones.

They will face familiar opposition, as Monaghan or Armagh lie in wait. Having beaten both sides en route to today’s decider, they will certainly not fear the opposition, but there is a lot to be said for momentum.

About Brian Barry