Tyrone burst Antrim’s bubble

Antrim’s defeat of Donegal in Ballybofey and then Cavan in the semi-final in Clones ensured that expectations were high when the Saffrons headed back to Clones to face Tyrone in the Ulster final of 2009 but Micky Harte’s well drilled All Ireland champions were to burst Antrim’s bubble.

Ulster Championship final

Tyrone 1-18 Antrim 0-15

Tyrone got off to a flying start and were 1-8 to 0-2 up in the first half and that was a deficit the gutsy Saffrons simply could not overcome.

Liam Bradley’s side never gave up and indeed outscored Tyrone for the remainder of the game but all the damage had been done in the opening half.

All Star Sean Cavanagh scored a goal and four points from midfield in a man of the match performance.

Paddy Cunningham scored 11 points for underdogs Antrim who gamely stuck to their task but it was Tyrone who lifted the Anglo-Celt with a six-point win.

Mickey Harte’s men deserved their success but credit has to go to Antrim for the way they responded to Tyrone’s early onslaught.

Liam Bradley’s unfancied side got the first point through a Cunningham free but then Tyrone took over.

Ryan McMenamin fisted over, Tommy McGuigan landed a long-range effort and Joe McMahon sent over a third point to get the Tyrone bandwagon rolling.

The Red Hands sliced through Antrim again and Cavanagh took Stephen O’Neill’s pass to net a classy goal.

Joe McMahon added a score before Antrim temporarily stemmed the tide with another Cunningham free.

Back came Tyrone with Owen Mulligan, Kevin Hughes and Tommy McGuigan all landing points from play.

Antrim fought bravely to get back into the game and got the last the scores of the first half through Aodhan Gallagher and Cunningham (2).

Any notion that the All Ireland champions had eased their foot of the throttle were soon dashed when Tyrone came out after the break and rattled off three straight points through Mulligan, McGuigan and Cavanagh.

Antrim refused to throw in the towel against almost impossible odds however and hit back with three scores from Cunningham and one by Michael McCann.

Scores were exchanged fairly evenly after that but the goal that Antrim needed to get them back into wouldn’t come.

In the end it was comfortable enough for Tyrone but having been overpowered so dramatically early on, the Saffrons are entitled to be satisfied they did not let themselves down against the team many rated as the best in Ireland at the time..

 

Tyrone: J Devine; P J Quinn, Justin McMahon, R McMenamin (0-1); D Harte (0-1), C Gormley, P Jordan; K Hughes (0-2), S Cavanagh (1-4); B Dooher (capt), T McGuigan (0-2) , Joe McMahon (0-2), M Penrose, S O’Neill, O Mulligan (0-3). Substitutes: E McGinley for McGuigan (50 mins), C Cavanagh for Dooher (54), C Gourley for McMenamin (65), B McGuigan for Penrose (67), C McCullagh for O’Neill (67). Yellow cards: McMenamin (12 mins), Cavanagh (41 mins0, McGinley (61).


Antrim: P Graham; C Brady, A McClean, K O’Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, J Loughrey; M McCann (0-2), A Gallagher (0-1); T O’Neill, K Brady, N McKeever; P Cunningham (capt) (0-11, 0-6 frees), S Burke, T McCann. Substitutes: K Niblock for Brady (26 mins), C Murray for Burke (44), C Close (0-1)for McKeever (50), D O’Hagan for O’Neill (64), S McGreevey for Graham (66). Yellow cards: Scullion (3 mins), McKeever (100, Murray (55)

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)

The Ulster campaign of 2009 was over but Antrim would have one more day in the sun when they were drawn against the mighty Kerry in the qualifiers in Tullamore.

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