Two points clear with 7 minutes remaining, Tyrone were hit with three Dublin scores, from Bryan Cullen and substitutes Declan O’Mahony and Liam O hEineachain. “It was a 7-out-of-10 performance,” explained Dublin manager Tommy Lyons, “with a 9-out-of-10 finish.”
Tyrone will have been frustrated by an abysmal nine wides during the second half, while Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton came to his side’s rescue when he saved a penalty from Owen Mulligan after 40 minutes.
If Tyrone were left dejected, their Ulster rivals were notching up win No. 3 with a comfortable 2-9 to 1-6 success against Donegal at Ballybofey. Goals by Oisin McConville and full back Justin McNulty, who ran the length of the field to finish, gave the All-Ireland champions the necessary cushion, while Donegal, who are still without a point, were hampered by the loss of Michael Hegarty at the break with hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, Colm Cooper was sent off as Kerry slumped to a 1-13 to 0-9 defeat at the hands of Galway at Pearse Stadium. Only seven points from Declan Quill kept the Kingdom in the hunt as Galway dominated from the start.
The visitors were already under pressure before Cooper was shown a straight red card for lashing out at Diarmuid Blake after half an hour. A goal by Micheal Meehan meant that Galway were in control and there were also important contributions from Derek Savage and John Divilly, who lined out in place of the injured Joe Bergin. Amid rumors that Maurice Fitzgerald was about to resume training this week, all manager Paidi O Se would say was that it was the first he’d heard of it.
Roscommon’s second victory of the campaign looked a forlorn hope early in the second half, but they came storming back to defeat Cork by 1-12 to 1-11 at Hyde Park. Trailing by 7 points five minutes after the break, the home team replied with a goal by substitute Kieran Lynch before Frankie Dolan, Gerry Lohan, Gary Cox and then Lynch again added scores to snatch an unlikely victory.
Cork, for whom Micheal O Croinin scored 1-5, had looked good in the early stages, but their collapse during the second half was not appreciated by manager Larry Tompkins. “There are no positives that we can take from that,” he said. “We were in control and we let it slip.”
Whatever Mick O’Dwyer has brought to the mix, Laois would like to bottle it right now. The Leinster county’s new manager has already created a badly needed feel-good factor around his team, whose 1-9 to 1-8 victory over Mayo at Ballinrobe has put them on top of Div. 1B with a 100 percent record.
The loss of Declan Sweeney just before halftime for a second yellow card offense disrupted Mayo’s effort. However, Laois used the extra man effectively to take the points. Kieran Kelly hit the winners’ goal during the first half, with Andy Moran replying for Mayo. Maurice Sheridan could at least have earned the home team a draw, but he missed three chances from frees.
Meath at last put some points on the board with a first win in the competition. It finished 0-13 to 0-12 in their favor against Kildare at Navan, where a late score by Evan Kelly secured the victory. With Trevor Giles back in the ranks, Meath showed more urgency than before, but they were given a break when, after an altercation between Brian Lacey and Kelly early in the second half, Lacey was sent off and Kelly only received a yellow card. Both clearly should have received the same sanction.
Like Meath, Fermanagh got their campaign under way with a surprise 1-11 to 1-9 success against Cavan at Brewster Park. An impressive 1-5 from Kieran Donnelly made the difference as Cavan paid the price for an indifferent display during the first half.
Sligo were also staring at a third defeat in succession, having had Paul Durcan sent off, but some inspiring play by Eamonn O’Hara secured a 1-11 to 1-10 win over Down at Newry. First, O’Hara started the move that led to Mark Brehony’s equalizing score and then his weaving run set up Brehony for the winning point.
Meanwhile, in Div. 2A, Limerick and Westmeath are currently sharing top spot following their 2-20 to 0-4 and 0-15 to 2-7 victories, respectively, over London and Antrim. In 2B, Wexford continued their unbeaten run with a 2-12 to 2-8 victory against Monaghan.