SF Qualifier: irrepressible Red Hands rout ragged Rebels

July 07, 2018

Tyrone's Connor McAliskey and Cathal McShane celebrate in the All-Ireland SFC Round 4 qualifier against Cork

Tyrone are safely through to the Super 8s after easily overcoming an abject Cork side in the energy-sapping heat of O'Moore Park - 3-20 to 0-13.

Having eased to their first-ever championship victory over the Rebel County, the Red Hands will play in the same Super 8s group as Ulster champions Donegal and Leinster champions Dublin, opening their round-robin quarter-final account at Croke Park against Roscommon next Saturday evening, followed by a home meeting with the Dubs the following weekend, then a trip to Ballybofey on August Bank Holiday weekend.

Connor McAliskey, Ronan O'Neill and Mark Bradley all netted in the second half as the trounced Munster finalists completely imploded.

Mickey Harte's dominant charges were full value for their double-scores interval advantage, 0-10 to 0-5, and arguably should have been further ahead at the short whistle.

Attacking the town end goals, the Red Hands made an assured start and led by three points to one after 13 minutes thanks to Niall Sludden, Franks Burns and Colm Cavanagh, a Luke Connolly free from the ground opening the Rebels' account in the sixth minute. Tyrone's lead could have been substantially greater but for Mark White saves from Conor Meyler and Peter Harte.

McAliskey stretched the gap for a free, play brought back from a move that had ended in a Harte goal (!), but despite having been comprehensively outplayed the Rebels were level by the 20th minute, 0-4 each. Ruairi Deane supplied their second score, Niall Morgan then deflected a Michael Hurley rasper over the bar and Connolly equalised from his second pointed free.

McAliskey (2) and Harte pointed frees, while Sludden fired his second and Cork full back Jamie O'Sullivan was harshly black-carded for tripping the Tyrone manager's nephew. Connolly (free) and Cathal McShane traded points and a routine McAliskey free for an off-the-ball foul closed the first-half scoring deep into added time.

The second half was a procession. Mark Collins replying to a McAliskey free was as good as it got for the terrible Leesiders. By the three-quarters stage, the winners led by twelve points, 2-16 to 0-10.

McAliskey (free) and Richard Donnelly tagged on points before McAliskey drove through a non-existent defence to plant the first goal in the 46th minute, When Connolly and Collins replied, McAliskey opted to fist over his next goal chance and Burns and McShane pointed either side of a Connolly free. On 51 minutes, substitute O'Neill was played through by Harte and the Omagh man palmed to the net with his first touch.

Burns was happy enough to take his point with 14 minutes left; Connolly's reply barely raised a cheer…

O'Neill's point had 13 between the teams with twelve minutes remaining…

Cork at least managed to get themselves a red card when Collins was shown the line eight minutes from the end…

Bradley bagged the third goal a minute from the end of normal time, following points from O'Neill (free) and Mattie Donnelly…

With 18 points between the teams, six minutes of injury time were added, enough time for Connolly to pull back a couple of consolation points from placed balls. And 'balls' is probably the word that was on the lips of every Cork supporter as they left the midlands venue.

Tyrone - N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann, F Burns (0-3), P Harte (0-1f); C Cavanagh (0-1), P Hampsey; M Donnelly (0-1), N Sludden (0-2), C Meyler; C McShane (0-3), R Donnelly (0-1), C McAliskey (1-6, 0-4f). Subs: R O'Neill (1-2, 0-2f) for C McAliskey, K McGeary for C McShane, M Bradley (1-0) for P Harte, A McCrory for M McKernan, HP McGeary for R McNamee, R Brennan for F Burns.

Cork - M White; J Loughrey, J O'Sullivan, K Crowley; K Flahive, S Cronin, C Kiely; I Maguire, B O'Driscoll; S White, M Collins (0-2), R Deane (0-1); L Connolly (0-9, 6f, 1'45), B Hurley, M Hurley (0-1). Subs: K O'Hanlon for J O'Sullivan (BC), P Kerrigan for S Cronin, D O'Connor for B Hurley, M Taylor for B O'Driscoll, S Ryan for K Flahive, R O'Toole for S White.

Referee - M Deegan.

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