Renewed hope for Mayo with impressive win over Tyrone

Ciaran Treacy of Mayo in action against Kieran McGeary and Matthew Donnelly of Tyrone during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 2 match between Tyrone and Mayo at Healy Park in Omagh, Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Tyrone 0-10 - 2-13 Mayo

Sparkling early season form under returning manager James Horan has renewed hope that Mayo will challenge once again for gaelic football’s greatest prize.

They appear to have rediscovered their freshness and appetite, and uncovered some exciting new talent.

The manner in which they dismantled Tyrone’s challenge at Healy Park was disconcerting for a Tyrone side expected to push boundaries on all fronts in 2019, but at the end of this one-sided contest, they were a well beaten force.

Tyrone started brightly with Darren McCurry and Lee Brennan converting from placed balls, but they manged just one further point in the next half-hour as Mayo established control of all the key areas.

Newcomers Fionn McDonagh and Ciaran Treacy proved their worth with stylish scores, and the damage could have been greater for the Tyrone defence had Mattie Donnelly not executed a couple of turnovers.

Mayo’s newcomers were all making telling impacts, with centre back Michael Plunkett and assured presence, while wing forwards Fionn McDonagh (1-3) and Ciaran Treacy (0-2) appear to be valuable discoveries.

Their strong tackling and strong running put the home side under sustained pressure, and an impressive turnover rate frustrated last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists time and again.

It was only a matter of time before the scores would come. McDonagh and Ciaran Treacy landed excellent scores, and it was Treacy’s second that brought the sides level in the 24th minute.

Peter Harte used his power to burst through for a point, but landed another couple harmlessly into the arms of goalkeeper Rob Hennelly.

Andy Moran belied his 35 years as he proceeded to step up his influence on the contest, scoring from an offensive mark and sending over a fisted effort after Aidan O’Shea and Keith Higgins sliced through the home defence.

And it was Moran who provided the pass for Higgins to smash home a brilliant 32nd minute goal, with McDonagh’s second sending them in with a 1-7 to 0-3 interval lead.

Mayo, with Paddy Durcan driving from deep, maintained their attacking momentum as McDonagh, with his third, and Jason Doherty fired over points to push them nine ahead.

Tyrone, with a raft of substitutions made, responded through McCurry and Conan Grugan, but they lacked potency and incisiveness and saw attacks easily repelled.

And another spell of direct football saw James Horan’s men restore their nine points advantage with scores from Hennelly (free) and Jason Doherty, with his third.

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan did create a stir by scoring from play, but there was little else to excite the home support.

Tyrone were struggling to compete physically with their opponents, and living off scraps, Peter Harte’s point coming only after a spell of hard, unrewarded graft.

But that preceded Mayo’s second goal, a brilliant McDonagh effort, buried in the bottom corner as they opened up an 11 points gap.

Tyrone needed a response, but it just wasn’t there either in the legs or the heads, and Durcan broke from deep after another spell of Red Hand pressure to fire over a brilliant late point

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-1); M McKernan, R McNamee, HP McGeary; T McCann, R Brennan, M Donnelly (0-1, f); B Kennedy, D McClure; P Harte (0-3, 1f), N Sludden, K McGeary; D McCurry (0-2, 2f), F Burns, L Brennan (0-2, 1m).

Subs: C Grugan (0-1) for McClure (h-t), P Hampey for HP McGeary (h-t), K Coney for Burns (40), C McCann for McCurry (45) C Meyler for K McGeary (60)

Mayo: R Hennelly (0-2, 1f, 1 ’45); S Coen, B Harrison, K Higgins (1-0); P Durcan (0-01), M Plunkett, L Keegan; D O’Connor, D Vaughan; F McDonagh (1-3), A O’Shea, C Treacy (0-2); A Moran (0-2, 1m), B Reape, J Doherty (0-3, 1f).

Subs: C Diskin for Reape (48), K McLoughlin for Moran (66), D Drake for Coen (69), M Ruane for Treacy (72)

Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).

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