All-Ireland SFC quarter-final: Red Hands rout Rossies

July 14, 2018

Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly collides with Cathal Compton of Roscommon

Tyrone effortlessly disposed of a disappointing Roscommon challenge at hot and humid Croke Park in the first-ever Super 8s match- 4-24 to 2-12.

Full value for their 18-point, double-scores success, the winners continued on from their thumping victory over Cork last weekend, while the losers were unable to build upon their dramatic defeat of Armagh.

Victory gives the Red Hands the best-possible start to their Group Two round-robin quarter-final campaign as they prepare for the visit of Dublin to Omagh next weekend, while in stark contrast Roscommon will do well to regroup from this drubbing for their Phase Two clash with Donegal.

Man of the Match Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler, Peter Harte and Richard Donnelly netted for the winners, while Enda Smith and Ciarain Murtagh hit the Roscommon three-pointers.

Sludden's eleventh-minute goal and a run of six unanswered points before the short whistle helped the ravenous Red Hands ease into a comfortable seven-point interval advantage, 1-10 to 0-6.

Fintan Cregg and Sludden traded the first two scores before points from Diarmuid and Ciarain Murtagh edged the beaten Connacht finalists two clear inside four minutes. Diarmuid Murtagh won and converted a free to restore the Rossies' lead after the Red Hands had levelled through Richard Donnelly and Connor McAliskey (free).

Increasingly starting to show himself to be a man for the big occasion, Sludden propelled his side into a lead that they would not relinquish when he lashed the ball to the bottom corner of the net at the Hill 16 end in the eleventh minute after Enda Smith's pass was intercepted in midfield, - 1-3 to 0-4.

Tiernan McCann added to the Tyrone lead with an excellent point and the Ulster county lost Cathal McCarron to a nasty-looking knee injury before the Rossies replied with a point from the Murtagh brothers.

A second McAliskey free doubled the difference ten minutes from the break and Mickey Harte's men kicked on with scores from Meyler, Cathal McShane, corner back Michael McKiernan, full back Ronan McNamee and Richard Donnelly to lead by seven at the break.

Niall Sludden fires in his first-half goal for Tyrone at Croke Park

It had all too easy for the Red Hands in the first half as Roscommon simply refused to show up. The second would be even worse…

The Rossies got the restart they needed when Enda Smith blasted to the net in the second minute of the second half in response to a Harte free. Ciarain and Diarmuid Murtagh then pointed frees for Kevin McStay's men but those scores were cancelled out by Tyrone points from Sludden and McAliskey (free) as the Red Hands led by five after 45 minutes, 1-13 to 1-8.

Impressive full forward Donnelly increased the difference with his third and Diarmuid Murtagh fisted over his fifth of the day. The game was over as any sort of a contest when Omagh clubman Meyler calmly rolled the ball past Colm Lavin left-footed for the winners' second goal at the end of a swift counter-attack initiated by Niall Morgan 21 minutes from the end: 2-14 to 1-9.

McAliskey effortlessly stretched the gap to nine and Harte's free piled on the Rossies' pain before substitute Declan McClure swung over the 17th Tyrone point to leave eleven points in it. Substitute Mark Bradley made it double scores, 2-18 to 1-9, and the Rossies seemed to have completely thrown in the towel as McShane extended the margin to 13.

Out of the blue, Ciarain Murtagh gathered possession to beat Morgan and pull back a consolation goal on the hour but Tyrone were immediately awarded a penalty at the other end when first-half substitute Hugh Pat McGeary went down under a challenge from Smith. Harte sent Lavin the wrong way and Richard Donnelly quickly made it 3-20 to 2-9.

Conor Devaney replied to Tyrone points from Mattie Donnelly and Bradley; another Harte free made it double scores again; Padraig Kelly's point for the Rossies was of no consequence; Rory Brennan and Conor Daly got their names on the scoresheet at either end and the outstanding Richard Donnelly palmed to the net at the death as the first-ever Super 8s match saw Tyrone stroll home. Two points and an impressive scoring difference as they await the visit of Dublin…

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

Roscommon - C Lavin; D Murray, N McInerney, N Daly; J McManus, C Devaney (0-1), Fintan Cregg (0-1); T O'Rourke, E Smith (1-0); C Murtagh (1-3, 0-2f), C Compton, N Kilroy; D Murtagh (0-5, 3f), C Cregg, D Smith. Subs: B Stack for C Cregg, Finbarr Cregg for D Smith, G Patterson for N Daly, C Daly (0-1) for Fintan Cregg, S Killoran for C Murtagh, P Kelly (0-1) for E Smith.

Referee - D Gough.



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