Tyrone gain historic first All-Ireland title

Tyrone 0-12 Armagh 0-9

Gaelic football's richest prize was finally grasped by a Red Hand at Croke Park.

Ninety-nine years of despair and failure came to a glorious end when Peter Canavan led Tyrone to a first ever All-Ireland Football Championship title.

This was a triumph to break the mould, to usher a new superpower to the forefront of Irish sport, and to strike a historic chord.

The first ever all-Ulster All-Ireland final made Tyrone's three-point success over neighbours and title-holders Armagh all the sweeter for the newly crowned champions.

They held on in a gripping finish to withstand Armagh's late onslaught, and deservedly emerged with a narrow success.

As expected, Tyrone's energised approach saw them race into an early lead, with Canavan tapping over three frees in the opening quarter, before Brian McGuigan cut in from the left wing for a delightful point.

Armagh were, however, defending solidly, in numbers, with corner forward Tony McEntee dropping back to afford extra protection to his full back line.

It was the All-Ireland champions who looked most dangerous on the breakaway, and full forward Diarmuid Marsden had a wonderful goal chance blocked by a combination of defenders.

Philip Loughran created the opening for Armagh's opening point, scored by John McEntee, and despite picking up a yellow card early in the game, Armagh corner man Francie Bellew was winning his personal battle with attacker Owen Mulligan.

Armagh were having difficulty in providing the sort of high ball upon which Steven McDonnell thrives, but from one such delivery from Marsden, McDonnell hooked over a point to leave just three between the sides.

Then two glorious goal chances in the space of two minutes.

First, Loughran started the move which saw Clarke release attacking half back Aidan O'Rourke,

but his final pass to Marsden was a touch too strong.

Immediately, Tyrone created an even better chance.

Canavan picked out Mulligan with a quickly taken free kick, McGinley moved the ball on to the inrushing Sean Cavanagh, but the midfielder kicked hurriedly and wide.

Oisin McConville curled over a free kick, but Canavan's fourth from as many attempts restored Tyrone's three points cushion, before McDonnell kicked a superb score from far out on the right wing.

But it was Tyrone who finished the half with a flourish, Canavan converting another free, before goalkeeper Paul Hearty deflected a McGinley effort over the bar.

The Ulster champions led by 0-8 to 0-4 at the break, but Canavan struggling with an ankle injury, failed to appear for the second half, replaced by Brian McGuigan, who had gone off just before the break.

Tyrone had another golden goal chance when Stephen O'Neill released Gerard Cavlan, but he slid the ball just past a post with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Paddy McKeever narrowed the gap from a free, but Mulligan, taking over the free kicking, converted two.

Armagh suffered another setback 15 minutes from the end when Marsden was straight red-carded for an off-the-ball incident involving Philip Jordan, but it was the title-holders who dominated the remainder of the game, pushing forward in numbers in desperate search of the scores which would drag them back into the game.

McConville did convert another free, but super-sub O'Neill fired over two gems on the breakaway, and Tyrone were almost there.

Canavan came back into the game for the final 10 minutes and steadied the ship, before climbing the famous Hogan Stand steps to create a little bit of history by becoming the first Tyrone man to accept the Sam Maguire Cup.

Tyrone: John Devine, Ciaran Gourley, Cormac McAnallen, Ryan McMenamin, Conor Gormley, Gavin Devlin, Philip Jordan, Kevin Hughes, Sean Cavanagh, Brian Dooher, Brian McGuigan (0-1), Gerard Cavlan (0-1), Enda McGinley (0-1), Peter Canavan (0-5, 5 f), Owen Mulligan (0-2, 2f).

Subs: Stephen O'Neill (0-2) for McGuigan, McGuigan for Canavan, Canavan for Cavlan, Colin Holmes for Gourley, Chris Lawn for Gormley

Armagh: Paul Hearty, Andy Mallon, Enda McNulty, Francie Bellew, Aidan O'Rourke, Kiran McGeeney, Andy McCann, Paul McGrane, Philip Loughran, Ronan Clarke, John McEntee (0-1), Oisin McConville (0-3, 3 f), Steven McDonnell (0-2), Diarmuid Marsden (0-1), Tony McEntee.

Subs: Paddy McKeever (0-2, 2f) for Marsden, Kieran Hughes for Mallon, Marsden for Clarke, B O'Hargan for J McEntee.

Referee: Brian White (Wexford)

Yellow cards:

Tyrone: C McAnallen, C Gormley, K Hughes, B McGuigan. P Canavan

Armagh: F Bellew, P Loughran, P McKeever, K McGeeney

Red cards: D Marsden (Armagh)

Wides: Tyrone 4, Armagh 10

Attendance: 79,391

Man of the match: Philip Jordan (Tyrone)

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