FL1: Donnelly delivers for Red Hands

February 11, 2018

Tyrone's Cathal McShane and Tommy Moolick of Kildare.
©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

Mattie Donnelly's stunning point in the sixth minute of injury time handed Tyrone a magnificent 1-16 to 0-18 victory over Kildare at Newbridge.

On a cold, wintry afternoon at St Conleth's Park, both teams were searching for their first win of the campaign and it was the visitors who snatched it as the luckless Lilywhites fell to Ulster opposition by the narrowest of margins for a second successive Sunday.

Lee Brennan's 29th-minute goal ensured the Ulster champions of a slender 1-8 to 0-10 interval advantage and the sides would share 16 points in a thrilling second half.

The Lilywhites flew out of the blocks as the snow descended, with Kevin Feely, Fergal Conway (2) and Ben McCormack all on target inside the opening ten minutes. Niall Sludden angled over the slow-starting Red Hands' opener on twelve minutes but Peter Kelly replied instantly for the hellbent hosts only for Brennan (free) to quickly close the gap to three again.

Tiernan McCann and Brennan (free) had the deficit down to the minimum by the 20th minute, only for Feely to double the difference with a sweetly-struck free. Goalkeeper Mark Donnellan ('45') and Paul Cribbin - with a screamer from distance - made it double scores but Sludden hit back before Brennan tied the scores up six minutes from the break when drilling a low shot to the net - 1-5 to 0-8.

Another Feely free nudged Cian O'Neill's charges back in front on the half-hour mark but Connor McAliskey fired the visitors ahead for the first time after goalkeeper Niall Morgan nailed a free and the first half ended with an exchange between Sludden and Feely from distance.

Cathal McShane restored the border county's lead after Kelly had equalised from a tricky angle two minutes after the restart; Padraig McNulty's long-range finish cancelled out Daniel Flynn's point as the Red Hands kept their noses in front; Brennan's free increased the margin in the sixth minute of the second half.

A brace of Feely frees between the town end posts - bringing his personal haul to 0-7 - tied the scores up again but Tyrone regained the lead through Darren McCurry with 20 minutes remaining. However, yet another Feely free had the teams level and Cian O'Donoghue fired the Lilywhites in front going into the home straight, with 15 minutes to go…

Tyrone midfielder Donnelly landed the leveller on 57 minutes and both sides recorded disappointing wides as the tension mounted. In a dramatic finale, McShane's long-range peach gave Tyrone the lead again on 65 minutes and Feely's free in the third of the five added minutes that were announced levelled the scores again.

It looked like the spoils would be shared but up stepped captain Donnelly with a late, late leveller from distance off his left boot as Mickey Harte's men got their first win of the 2018 national football league at the third attempt.

Tyrone - N Morgan (0-1f); H P McGeary, P Hampsey, C McCarron; T McCann (0-1), R Brennan, C McLaughlin; M Donnelly (0-2), P McNulty (0-1); C Meyler, N Sludden (0-3), P Harte; L Brennan (1-3, 0-3f), C McShane (0-2), C McAliskey (0-2, 1f). Subs: M McKernan for C McLaughlin, D McCurry (0-1) for R Brennan, R McNamee for P McNulty, C McCann for L Brennan, M Bradley for C McAliskey, K McGeary for T McCann.

Kildare - M Donnellan (0-1'45); P Kelly (0-1), D Hyland, M O'Grady; J Byrne, E Doyle, C O'Donoghue (0-1); K Feely (0-9, 8f), T Moolick; F Conway (0-2), N Kelly (0-1), P Cribbin (0-1); B McCormack (0-1), D Flynn (0-1), P Brophy. Subs: J Hyland for B McCormack, L Flynn for T Moolick, C Healy for N Kelly, K Cribbin for F Conway, C McNally for P Brophy.

Referee - P Neilan.

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