Tyrone Claim Ulster Intermediate Title

It could well be classed as Redemption for Tyrone ladies football as they were crowned Ulster ladies intermediate champions at Clones on Sunday , there first piece of silverware of since 2009 after several years of being in the doldrums.

Ulster Intermediate Champions 1

To their credit Down, inspired by Aileen Pyers back after injury were always in this game, they battled hard created chances, at the cutting edge though they just lacked experience a key forward, in Niamh O’Neill Tyrone  had just that , the young full forward finished with 1-7 from play, Downs Pyers 1-5, 1-1 from play.

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Tyrone led by a point at half time, both sides had enjoyed periods of dominance in an entertaining and pacey opening thirty odd minutes.  Tyrone were missing captain Neamh Woods, it certainly didn’t affect their game. Tyrone built a head of steam and led 0-6 to 0-1 after ten minutes, penetrating runs from the half back line from Christiane Hunter, Tori Mc Laughlin and Cathy Donnelly opened up Down time and time again.  Emma Smyth and Laura Shavlin traded early points before five points for Tyrone without reply.

Smyth fired over 0-2 from play, Maria Canavan  a free,Niamh O’Neill and midfielder Meabh Mallon both from play added to the Tyrone tally. Down regrouped coming more and more into the game, Aileen Pyers and Kate McKay got the scoreboard moving for them, Tyrone responded .A long ball from Hunter was collected by Smyth who in a neat one two teed up Niamh O’Neill for the days opening goal.

Down didn’t panic they upped the tempo and enjoyed plenty of  ball with McKay and Jordan Magee delivering some great ball. McKay and Pyers closed the gap and they were right back in it when Chara Laverty was upended . Pyers slotting home the penalty with Grainne McClean adding an equalising point.

O’Neill scored a late double, Pyers  added one for Down and Tyrone led by the minimum at the short whistle.

Down had a chance moments after the restart when Mairead Kavanaghs effort skirted the goalline and was cleared by alert defenders. Points were quickly traded again with O’Neill and Smyth, Pyers and McClean all finding the range, Tyrone pulled away, Emma Hegarty scored a stunning point and O’Neill left three between the sides after a neat pass from wee Smyth..

Pyer’s and after a patient build up McKay closed the gap, once more  Tyrone responded with the nippy Smyth and O’Neill again raising white flags with four minutes to go. This time there was no Down comeback as Tyrone, after five wides in quick succession latched on O’Neill and Teri McCusker points to seal a four point win and a place in the quarter finals. A great display from both sides, entertaining with several years of senior experience helping Tyrone to an historic first intermediate title.

The celebrations though have been muted, with confirmation just after the game that the Mother of one of the Tyrone goalkeepers Laura Kane had passed away after a brief illness.

 

Tyrone: S Lynch, K Quinn, J Barrett, E Quinn, C Hunter, C Donnelly, T McLaughlin, S Quinn, M Mallon 0-1, C McNabb, E Smyth 0-5, E Hegarty 0-1, M Canavan 0-1, N O’Neill 1-7, G Rafferty. Subs T McCusker 0-1 for G Rafferty, C Mc Cann for C Donnelly, S Sheerin for S Quinn

Down: C McCarthy, L Mason, C Kearns, L Morgan, A Greene, L Sharvin 0-1, C Laverty, K Mc Kay 0-2, J Magee 0-1, G McClean 0-2, L Cunningham 0-1, A Pyers 1-5, N Mc Kibbon, A Wood, M Doherty, subs M Kavanagh for A Wood, N Johnson for N McKibbon, C Byrne for G McClean, S McCann for K McKay

Referee Conor Duorneen Cavan,

 

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