05/09/2005

Tyrone to meet Kerry in GAA football final

It took a late resurgence by Tyrone to beat Armagh in the Bank of Ireland All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday.

While the first-half was not without excitement, it was a story of missed chances as Ryan Mellon should have taken the first goal of the match for the Red Hand men but was denied by Armagh keeper Paul Hearty. Tyrone keeper Pascal McConnell in turn denied Ronan Clarke to keep the match alive as the team swapped points in the first-half. The first goal came from a well struck penalty by O'Neill in the last few minutes of first-half stoppage time. At the break Tyrone led by 1-4 to 0-5.

Armagh came out in the second with two swift frees from McDonnell and McConville that by the 47th minute had levelled the match again.

But when it mattered most it was Tyrone who moved up a gear taking a three point lead, before the Orchard County men edged back in front thanks to a goal by Steven McDonnell with 11 minutes to go. Two points from Clarke and one from Kernan had moved Armagh ahead again 1-12 1-10 with five minutes left to play.

Sean Cavanagh brought Tyrone within one point of Armagh, and then Shane Sweeny took his chance to tie the match at 1-12 1-12.

Finally, it was Tyrone who secured the match in injury time from a cleanly struck free by veteran Peter Canavan that divided the posts after O'Neill had been fouled gratuitously.

Speaking after the match Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte hailed the performance of his players after the narrow victory: "Our boys did not give up and were not intent on giving up this year. The only thing is we have to keep our feet firmly on the ground.

"There's celebration going on here at the minute and people are very happy, but we have to be mindful of the fact that we're only in the All-Ireland final. We haven't won one yet."

Final Score: Tyrone 1-13 Armagh 1-12.

Tyrone meet Kerry in the final on September 25.

(SP)

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