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Tyrone are 2005 All-Ireland senior football champions

25 September 2005

Brian Dooher raises the Sam Maguire Cup
Tyrone won a pulsating 2005 All-Ireland SFC final to cap their amazing ten-game odyssey by bringing Sam Maguire home to the O’Neill County for the second time in three years.

The winners looked amazingly fresh as they claimed the verdict in one of the greatest All-Ireland finals of all time, eclipsing Kerry on a 1-16 to 2-10 scoreline.

Both sides went at it from start to finish but it was Mickey Harte’s men who demonstrated the greatest conviction and desire to capture what GAA president Sean Kelly afterwards described as “the hardest championship ever won”.

Tyrone led by the match-winning three-point margin at the end of a pulsating first half. Kerry may have been the better side in the first quarter but the Red Hands got on top and finished the half – and the match - strongest.

Peter Canavan supplied the Tyrone goal in injury time, taking full advantage of Owen Mulligan’s wonderful assist. Kerry – courtesy of Dara O’Cinneide - had also rattled the net half an hour earlier.

The purists must have been pleased by the thrilling fare served up during the 78 minutes of play, as these two giants of the modern game stood toe-to-toe, producing a riveting encounter.

Kerry effortlessly won possession from the throw-in but the vigilant Tyrone backs snuffed out their patient build-up. Brian McGuigan’s forward sortie was also thwarted before Cooper fired the Kingdom into a second-minute lead with an excellent left-footed point from the left wing.

Eoin Brosnan produced another quality finish to extend the Munster champions’ lead but Conor Gormley placed Moy clubman Ryan Mellon for Tyrone’s first point - a great finish in the fifth minute. Mellon clipped over his second point after wonderful approach play from McGuigan.

Kerry drew first blood in the sixth minute, however, when the Tyrone defence was caught napping. Declan O’Sullivan – operating around the middle of the field - collected possession in the centre of the pitch and Paul Galvin worked the ball into Cooper, who laid off to Dara O’Cinneide. The 2003 captain drove low to the net, with his marker Michael McGee at sixes and sevens.

It looked like Kerry were in control but the O’Neill men refused to panic and Owen Mulligan turned to swing over a fine point.

Cooper went to ground off the ball, leaving both the Kerry supporters and the Tyrone players (particularly goalkeeper Pascal McConnell) incensed – and Liam Hassett brought a stop to play with a crude challenge on Tyrone captain Brian Dooher, for which the Kerry No.12 received a yellow card.

When the action (and what action!) resumed, Stephen O’Neill sent the 13th-minute free to the right of the Hill 16 goals and wide. Darragh O Se set up his brother Mark for a good chance and the Kerry corner back sold Joe McMahon an outrageous dummy before kicking embarrassingly wide.

Mulligan was first out to Philly Jordan’s pass but he slipped before kicking straight into the grateful arms of Kingdom keeper Diarmuid Murphy. Brosnan’s second point made it 1-3 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Peter Canavan’s delightful flick sent McGuigan bearing down on the Kerry goal, but the Tyrone playmaker chose the wrong option, trying to drive the ball low to the net from a tight angle when Mulligan had the goal at his mercy if the No.11 opted to deliver a pass.

Dooher received a yellow card for a crude challenge on Paul Galvin, and Seamus Moynihan then got a tick for pulling Dooher to ground when the No.10 was threatening to breach the well-organised Green & Gold rearguard. Mulligan converted the resultant free.

McConnell got his fist to the ball above Cooper to concede a ’45’, which O’Cinneide took. Brosnan this time beat McConnell to the ball but his punched attempt went wide.

Tyrone were getting overrun in the middle of the field but Stephen O’Neill cleverly spotted McGuigan in space and the centre forward landed a lovely score from an acute angle. Unbelievably, Dooher then drew the sides level on 26 minutes with an inspirational long-distance point from almost 50 yards.

William Kirby was lucky to escape when he lashed out at McGuigan after Canavan had been fouled and a skirmish developed … there was a real edge to the game in the latter stages of the first half.

O’Neill’s free (after Moynihan’s foul on Dooher) sent the Ulster challengers ahead for the first time three minutes from the break.

Cooper got away with a cheeky push into McMenamin’s back before delightfully kicking Kerry back on terms but the Tyrone No.2 won the next duel between the two players before, moments later, Cooper missed the target by a few feet.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half Tyrone struck for a stunning goal: Mulligan rose majestically to collect a high delivery and held up the ball before laying off to his master, Canavan, who was operating as the link man. Peter the Great made no mistake, sending a low left-footed drive to the bottom corner of the net past the despairing dive of Murphy.

Tyrone would never relinquish the lead their veteran campaigner – undoubtedly the finest gaelic footballer of our generation - had given them.

McGuigan and Darragh O Se swapped superb points at either end and the short whistle sounded with Tyrone three points ahead, 1-8 to 1-5.

Mickey Harte’s men had weathered the early storm and their dynamic, enigmatic play left them deservedly ahead with 35 minutes left in the 2005 All-Ireland senior football championship.

In a clever tactical switch, Colin Holmes replaced Peter Canavan for the start of the second half and went into midfield, with Eoin McGinley moving into a revamped Tyrone attack.

The change had no effect on Cooper’s confidence, however, as the mercurial Kerry No.13 again demonstrated his purebred stock when he turned within minutes of the re-start to knock over the first score of the second half.

Galvin’s reckless challenge on Jordan was more mongrel than thoroughbred, resulting in Kerry’s fourth yellow card – a statistic that spoke volumes about the approach the Kingdom were being forced to adopt.

O’Neill took the free and Mulligan was as alert as ever to collect possession after the ball came back off the post. He flicked it over his own head between the posts for his third point.

O’Cinneide replied with a Kerry free from in front of the posts – Kerry’s first score from a free – and Tyrone’s midfield powerhouse Sean Cavanagh kicked high and wide before Jack O’Connor introduced Laune Rangers attacker Mike Frank Russell for the ineffective Hassett.

After impressive covering back by Holmes, a lovely interchange between Cavanagh and O’Neill resulted in a splendid point off his so-called weaker foot from the Tyrone full forward.

Despite all their exertions this summer, Tyrone were completely on top and looked much fresher than the Munster champions, but they missed a couple of chances in as many minutes: first Mulligan overplayed the ball, then Cavanagh – enjoying the Freedom of Croke Park – was unlucky when his kick struck the woodwork.

Chris Lawn came in for the injured Joe McMahon before the energetic dynamos of the Red Hand County opened up a four-point gap: O’Neill taunted and teased his man and stepped inside onto his left foot to strike a stellar score.

O’Neill was unlucky not to get a free when he was pulled to the turf but Mulligan stretched the Ulster county’s lead when he mercilessly booted over a free following Galvin’s desperate trip on Cavanagh. Galvin was already on a yellow but this time escaped with a tick.

Darragh O Se’s second point kept Kerry in touch but Kerry’s next attack was repelled superbly by Lawn.

Mulligan kicked wide before Canavan returned to the fray for the last quarter, the Tyrone talisman replacing McGinley with a quarter of the match remaining and his team four points ahead, 1-12 to 1-8.

David Harte had a poor wide for Tyrone – their second in as many minutes – and Kerry made them pay for their profligacy when wing back Tomas O Se came forward to lash the ball powerfully to the back of the net.

Again, Tyrone refused to depress the panic button. Instead they worked the ball forward, with tenacious play from Ryan McMenamin setting up Canavan, who kicked a spectacular point from an angle that looked nigh on impossible.

Purposeful play from Brosnan forced a foul from McMenamin and Cooper converted the free – Kerry had again closed within a point with nine minutes remaining.

Slow, deliberate build-up play by Tyrone ended in a foul on Canavan, and O’Neill converted the subsequent free from the meanest of angles. Tyrone’s starting full forward triumvirate had scored 1-9 between them.

Gooch ignored the jeers to produce a crucial point from a free but Tyrone’s next attack culminated in a precise McGuigan point after telling set-up work by Conor Gormley and Mulligan.

With a two-point lead, Tyrone opted to play possession football – and a gap opened up for Jordan who burst through the middle to hammer over a tremendous last-minute point, putting Mickey Harte’s team three points clear, 1-16 to 2-10.

That was the last score of an epic All-Ireland final in which Tyrone proved beyond all reasonable doubt that they are the best team in the country. Every one of their players was magnificent today, and the substitutes that came in also performed gallantly. As usual, the management team called everything perfectly.

Kerry followers were relieved when they learned that there would be four minutes of injury time, but Russell’s late free dropped disappointingly short.

Three minutes into stoppage time, Kerry subs Brian Sheehan and Russell tried to penetrate a sturdy Tyrone defence that stood firm as the O’Neill County deservedly captured the Sam Maguire Cup for a second time.

Once the final whistle sounded, the pitch was transformed into a pulsing sea of ecstatic white and red as Brian Dooher became the second Tyrone man in history to accept the most famous trophy in Irish sport.

Tyrone: P McConnell; R McMenamin, J McMahon, M McGee; D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan; E McGinley, S Cavanagh; B Dooher (0-1), B McGuigan (0-3), R Mellon (0-2); P Canavan (1-1), S O’Neill (0-4), O Mulligan (0-4). Subs: C Holmes for Canavan, C Lawn for McMahon, P Canavan for McGinley

Kerry: D Murphy; M O Se, M McCarthy, T O’Sullivan (1-0); T O Se, S Moynihan, A O Mahony; Darragh O Se (0-2), W Kirby; P Galvin, E Brosnan (0-2), L Hassett; C Cooper (0-4), Declan O’Sullivan, D O Cinneide (1-1). Subs: MF Russell for Hassett, D O’Sullivan for Ó Cinnéide, E Fitzmaurice for Moynihan, B Sheehan for Galvin








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