By Mike Fitzpatrick
Tyrone 0-14, Sligo 0-8
Having already beaten the mighty Donegal earlier in the season, Tyrone entered this senior football tie versus first division newcomers Sligo as heavy favorites. On the day however, they were missing a number of players, with Tyrone’s elder statesman, the hugely experienced Duke Devlin, having to play in the Ulster side’s forward line.
Having lost a number of stars in the last year, including the Slowey brothers, Michael and Martin, and New York all-star full back Sean Teague, no one was quite sure how to rate this northern side for the upcoming championship. In the end, however, Tyrone came up trumps against Sligo.
Having already defeated Donegal in their first game, Tyrone silenced some of their critics. But this all meant nothing to Sligo, as they raced into an early lead, hitting five points without reply early on in the game. Tom Gill hit three on the trot, followed by an effort from Peter Brennan and another from that man Gill.
Tyrone, somewhat shellshocked, began to regroup a little, and fired in a few efforts of their own through Michael Coleman, who hit five over the bar in the first half, and another one from Joe Firth.
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Gill banged in another for Sligo, to leave the Duke’s men trailing by a single point going into the break.
Coleman equalized for Tyrone, and the excellent Philip Sloane hit another for Tyrone to give his side the lead for the first time.
After that there was a little toing and froing, with Gill equalizing for Sligo, and Firth putting the Ulster side back in front.
Something in the half time team talk obviously had an impact upon the Tyrone players, as they were a different side in the second half.
Danny Barr emerged from the shadows, and triumphed in midfield, catching everything that came his way, and sending the ball forward at every opportunity. Philip Sloane was his usual terrier like self, his non-stop running forward set up Coleman for a number of Tyrone scores.
As the game became a little on the physical side, Tyrone edged out in front. Scoring six more points without reply in the second half, the Ulster men were in no mood to give up their lead, and with it, their 100 percent record in this year’s championship.
Next week they face another tough physical side when they come up against Monaghan. What would surely have been an interesting tie, due to the fact that Monaghan player Michael Slowey would have been facing his old side, has lessened somewhat due to Slowey’s suspension following his recent sending off versus Donegal.
Sligo: Dermot Fleming, Eamon Duffy, Chris McManus, John McKenzie, Mark Doyle, Mark Shanahan, Sean Cunney, Brian McDonagh, Barry Donovan, Noel Fitzgerald (0-1), Enda Henry, Peter Brennan (0-1), Kieran Fleming, Conor Healy, Tommy Gill (0-6). Subs: Neil Jones, Austin Walsh
Tyrone: Aidan Lloyd, Duke Devlin, Brian Quinn, Barry Hynes, John Corrigan, Collie Fearon, Enda Donnelly, Danny Barr, Paul McGuirk, Philip Sloane (0-1), Mike Coleman (0-9), Barry Tally, Eamonn Devlin, Joe Firth (0-3), Darren Flanagan (0-1).
Man of the Match: Philip Sloane (Tyrone)