By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Tyrone laid down a clear marker that they are going to be contenders for this season’s NFL title when they edged out Dublin by 0-18 to 2-10 in last Sunday’s fiercely contested Div. 1A game in Dungannon.
Even if Tommy Lyons’s Dublin side is still at the experimental stage, there was no excuse for a sluggish start, which gave Tyrone an invitation to press forward. With Peter Canavan in outstanding form, the only surprise was that the home team wasn’t further than 0-9 to 0-4 in front at the interval.
Cormac McAnallen and Ger Cavlan gave Canavan the support he needed and Tyrone were threatening to run away the game when Lyons replaced Darren Homan with Colin Moran, and moved Ciaran Whelan into midfield. Whether inspired or lucky, the changed worked as Ray Cosgrove quickly scored a goal and soon Dublin were level.
Tyrone rallied, but when Alan Brogan struck for his team’s second goal a draw looked more and more likely. However, the winners deservedly had the final say with a superb Canavan free and then an injury point by Cavlan sealed the result.
Galway 3-12, Westmeath 0-13
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Galway gave an indication of their early season well-being with a scintillating display to crush Westmeath at Mullingar.
Westmeath had no answer to the All-Ireland champions pace, skill and teamwork. First-half goals by Tommy Joyce and Matthew Clancy as well as 5 superb points by Jarlath Fallon gave Galway a 10-point advantage at the changeover.
Roscommon 1-9, Cork 0-10
Roscommon’s opening game of the campaign almost finished in frustration when, despite a host of misses, they got the better of Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. The winners blew several clear-cut goal opportunities, but John Hanley fisted home a chance midway through the first half, and that proved to be crucial.
Former all-star hurler Diarmuid O’Sullivan made his senior football debut at full forward for Cork, but he suffered from a poor supply. The home team finished strongly with some good scores by O’Sullivan, Conrad Murphy and John Miskella.
Donegal registered a first win, beating Offaly by 0-16 to 0-13 in Tullamore. Four frees by Aidan Sweeney, and three points each from Brian Roper and Michael Hegarty, saw Donegal through.
If the name of O’Dwyer is synonymous with Kildare football, for once it wasn’t Mick who made the headlines at Newbridge, where the Lilywhites were impressive 1-15 to 1-11 winners over Derry in Div. 1B. This time the manager’s son Karl stole the show with an impressive total of 10 points. Kildare’s first-half goal, by John Doyle, was canceled out by Padraig O’Neill’s effort.
Mayo made it a second victory in succession when they hammered Clare by 2-19 to 1-6 in Ennis. There was little to separate the sides at the interval, but then two quick goals by Marty McNicholas and Conor Mortimer (1-8) dramatically tilted the balance of the match.
Cavan joined Mayo at the top of the division thanks to a 0-16 to 0-14 win over Fermanagh at Breffni Park, but this game threatened to get out of hand as referee Mick Curley issued 10 yellow cards and sent off Fermanagh’s Paul Brewster and Larry Reilly of Cavan. In fact, Fermanagh looked a good bet come away with the spoils in the closing stages, but Jason Reilly leveled matters just before the end of normal time. Then injury time scores by Finbar Reilly and Jason Reilly clinched the result for Cavan.
There was more trouble at Markievicz Park, where referee Michael Ryan sent off four players before Sligo edged out Down by 0-11 to 0-10.
In Div. 2A, Kerry made it three-for-three with a comfortable 0-14 to 0-7 win over Antrim in Tralee, while Armagh kept up their challenge with a third success when they crushed Leitrim by 3-16 to 0-9 at Carrickcruppen. Louth were impressive 2-18 to 0-12 victors over Wicklow at Drogheda, and Limerick thrashed London by 3-22 to 0-10 at Mitcham.
Wexford continued their unbeaten run in Div. 2B, beating Monaghan by 1-8 to 1-6 at Scotstown. Trailing by a point in second place are Laois, who defeated rivals Carlow by 2-16 to 1-11 at Portarlington. Meath got off the mark with a 0-14 to 1-7 win over Tipperary, and Longford were too strong for Waterford, 4-13 to 1-12.