Brian Barry reports from St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge where Tyrone beat Kildare 1-16 to 0-18.
While a host of Allianz National Football League games fell victim to snow today, St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge was deemed to be perfectly playable for Kildare vs Tyrone.
Both winless after two games, there was a sense around the tie that it was a must-win for both sides in order to allay any fears of relegation.
As the snow finally started to fall when the ball was thrown in, it was Kildare who got off to the perfect start, going into a 0-04 to 0-00 lead in the opening ten minutes. Their haul included a beauty from Fergal Conway who saw off some rigid Tyrone defence.
The Lilywhites looked like they were beginning to click, as some impressive link-up play led to a number of scores. A monster Paul Cribbin effort left them 0-08 to 0-04 in front. However, the Red Hand made their way back into the game, thanks to a well-taken goal from Lee Brennan, who collected a peach of a ball in from Cathal McShane.
Heading for half-time, Cian O’Neill was perhaps scratching his head as to how they were trailing, but things could have been a lot worse had Connor McAliskey been able to produce more than a point after receiving the ball straight from a Kildare kick-out.
Mickey Harte’s side led by a point at the break, 1-08 to 0-10.
After the break, the teams exchanged points as neither were capable of establishing any breathing space in an attritional encounter. The boot of Kevin Feely kept the home team in the game, as Tyrone continued to give away frees.
Kildare were hanging in there, but when Feely levelled and Cian O’Donoghue then popped up to give them the lead with 15 minutes to go, there was a roar around St Conleth’s Park. Mattie Donnelly went up the far end to restore parity immediately, as the game ebbed and flowed.
Kildare missed a golden opportunity three minutes from time to level the game once again when a Feely free which was well within his range dropped short, and there was a sense that perhaps it wasn’t going to be their day.
Goalkeeper Mark Donnellan was awarded an opportunity to make amends moments later, when they were awarded a free at the centre of the 45, much to the ire of the Tyrone fans. However, he saw his effort trail to the left as Tyrone held on to their slender advantage.
When Chris Healy won another free, Feely wasn’t going to be denied again, and slotted over to equalise in two minutes into the five added on for injury time.
However, there was to be one final twist when Mattie Donnelly stormed up the left to score from wide out and snatch the victory.
Kevin Feely 0-09 (0-08 frees), Fergal Conway 0-02, Ben McCormack 0-01, Daniel Flynn 0-01, Cian O’Donoghue 0-01, Niall Kelly 0-01, Paul Cribbin 0-01, Peter Kelly 0-01, Mark Donnellan 0-01 (0-01 ’45).
Lee Brennan 1-03 (0-03 frees), Niall Sludden 0-03, Cathal McShane 0-02, Mattie Donnelly 0-02, Connor McAliskey 0-02 (0-01 free), Tiernan McCann 0-01, Niall Morgan 0-01 (0-01 free), Darren McCurry 0-01, Padraig McNulty 0-01.
1. Mark Donnellan
2. Peter Kelly
3. David Hyland
4. Mick O’Grady
5. Johnny Byrne
6. Eoin Doyle (captain)
7. Cian O’Donoghue
8. Kevin Feely
9. Tommy Moolick
10. Fergal Conway
18. Niall Kelly
12. Paul Cribbin
13. Ben McCormack
14. Daniel Flynn
19. Paddy Brophy
Jimmy Hyland for Ben McCormack (half-time)
Luke Flyyn for Tommy Moolick (48th minute)
Chris Healy for Niall Kelly (56th minute)
Keith Cribbin for Fergal Conway (61st minute)
Cathal McNally for Paddy Brophy (66th minute)
1. Niall Morgan
2. Hugh Pat McGeary
3. Pádraig Hampsey
4. Cathal McCarron
5. Tiernan McCann
6. Rory Brennan
7. Ciaran McLaughlin
8. Matthew Donnelly
25. Padraig McNulty
10. Conor Meyler
11. Niall Sludden
12. Peter Harte
13. Lee Brennan
14. Cathal McShane
15. Connor McAliskey
Michael McKernan for Ciaran McLaughlin (39th minute)
Darren McCurry for Rory Brennan (43rd minute)
Ronan McNamee for Padraig McNulty (54th minute)
Conal McCann for Lee Brennan (59th minute)
Mark Bradley for Connor McAliskey (61st minute)
Kieran McGeary for Tiernan McCann (76th minute)