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big win Tyrone bridge eight-year gap to beat Mayo in league and ease Division 1 relegation fears

Tyrone 0-11 Mayo 0-9

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Tyrone's Peter Harte in action against David McBrien of Mayo during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match at O'Neill's Healy Park in Omagh, Tyrone. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Tyrone's Peter Harte in action against David McBrien of Mayo during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match at O'Neill's Healy Park in Omagh, Tyrone. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Tyrone's Peter Harte in action against David McBrien of Mayo during the Allianz Football League Division 1 match at O'Neill's Healy Park in Omagh, Tyrone. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

All-Ireland champions Tyrone eased their Allianz NFL Division 1 relegation worries by beating Mayo in the league for the first time since 2014.

Four weeks ahead of the start of the defence of their Ulster title against Fermanagh, Tyrone recovered from last weekend’s mauling against Dublin to repeat their All-Ireland final win over the Connacht side.

Inspired by Peter Harte, Tyrone dominated the first half and were not in the least flattered by their five-point interval lead.

Even though they only scored three points in the second half Mayo’s lack of penetration – their starting forwards scored 0-1 from play – meant that the visitors’ comeback ultimately fell short

Tyrone’s fate in the top-flight is back in their own hands – though it remains a tall order. Essentially, must beat Kerry next Sunday in Killarney to be guaranteed Division 1 football in 2023. Otherwise, they are depending on other results for survival.

Even though this was Mayo’s second loss on the spin they could still reach the final if they beat Kildare in their final round-robin group match in Carrick-on-Shannon next Sunday.

Goalkeeper Rob Hennelly was a late withdrawal from the Mayo team – Rory Byrne took his place – which meant the visitors had just six survivors from their All-Ireland team. In contrast, Tyrone fielded 12 of their final side which reflected how urgent their need for league points were compared to their opponents.

Though listed to start at centre back Aidan O’Shea went to midfield for the throw-in and then operated as a sweeper – but made little impact.

Despite scoring 0-3 against Kerry, Fergal Boland was switched to defence.

After a below par performance against Dublin it was noticeable how much more focussed the home side looked right from the start.

Mayo’s replacement keeper Byrne was having difficulty with his re-starts as Tyrone’s All-Ireland final midfield partnership of Conn Kilpatrick and Brian Kennedy dominated the exchanges and the home side were full value for their 0-4 to 0-0 advantage after ten minutes.

Darragh Canavan was prominent in the early exchanges setting up a point for his brother-in-law Peter Harte before hitting a point from a mark. Such was his influence that Mayo moved Oisin Mullin to mark him.

In contrast Mayo looked listless – they hadn’t their first shot on goal until the 16th minute. Earlier an attempted short free went astray and ended up in a quick counterattack and Tyrone’s fifth point from Rory Brennan.

Jason Doherty had a half goal chance but delayed his effort and Paul Towey’s attempted shot was blocked by Brian Kennedy and the centre forward also missed a 45.

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Traditionally Mayo has always found it difficult to break through Tyrone’s blanket defence which featured 15 men behind the ball. Though they enjoyed more possession they made absolutely no headway. The poverty of their attack was underlined by the fact that they didn’t record their first wide until the 16th minute.

They finally opened their account in the 22nd minute with a pointed free from Ryan O’Donoghue after the referee adjudged that Fergal Boland had been fouled.

Conor Meyler hit his second and Tyrone’s sixth before Mayo finally showed some enterprise up front and cut through the Tyrone defence via a one-two between David McBrien and Jordan Flynn before the midfielder hit Mayo’s first point and only from play in the 22nd minute.

It should have been a three-point game six minutes later. But having done well it claim a mark Paul Towey’s weak shot was easily fielded by Niall Morgan.

Mayo certainly finished the half better than they started. But it was Tyrone who proved more clinical with the excellent Peter Harte breezing past Mayo full back David O’Brien before hitting his second point. And to compound Mayo’s woes Harte added his third after another turn-over.

O’Donoghue added his second free after a foul on Matthew Ruane on the stroke of half time to leave Tyrone, who had the advantage of the wind, in control at the break leading 0-8; 0-3. The poverty of the Mayo attack was underlined by a failure of any of their forwards to score from play in the first half where at the other end Peter Harte oozed class.

Tyrone substitute Mattie Donnelly and Matthew Ruane exchanged early second half point before Ryan O’Donoghue landed a monster score. It was the first time the visitors had scored back-to-back points.

It was a three point after just 42 minutes when Tyrone messed up a short free and got turned over and after Aidan O’Shea carried the ball out of defence Jordan Flynn hoisted over a long-range point. Now it was the turn of the Mayo blanket defence to frustrate Tyrone as they got turned over when they carried the ball into contact.

Mayo were a team transformed and points from substitute Jack Carney and a free from O’Donoghue after Tyrone messed up their re-start left a point between the sides in the 50th minute.

After 15 scoreless minutes Darren McCurry had Tyrone’s second point of the half but it was Mayo who were dominating but they were struggling to convert possession into scores. Ryan O’Donoghue’s fourth pointed free made it a one-point game again with 11 minutes left.

The standard of play dropped alarmingly with Tyrone guilty of a series of unforced errors, but Mayo’s lack of penetration was significant as well.

Nearly 15 minutes of scoreless action was finally broken with a classy Darragh Canavan point in the 67th minute and they looked relatively comfortable during the remaining nine minutes.

Kevin McLoughlin was black carded for a foul on Niall Morgan and Mayo had one final chance when a ball broke loose in the Tyrone goal mouth, but the shot from Jack Carney flew off team-mate Jordan Flynn and went wide. So, Tyrone held on for only their second win of the campaign.

Scorers: Tyrone – P Harte 0-3, C Meyler, D Canavan 0-2 (1m) 0-2 each, F Burns, R Brennan, M Donnelly D McCurry 0-1 each. Mayo – R O’Donoghue 0-5 (4f), J Flynn 0-2, M Ruane J Carney 0-1 each.

Tyrone: N Morgan; M McKernan, P Hampsey, F Burns; C Meyler, R Brennan, R McNamee; C Kilpatrick, B Kennedy; P Harte, N Sludden, K McGeary; D McCurry, C McShane, D Canavan. Subs: R Donnelly for Kennedy (ht), M Donnelly for McShane (ht), N Donnelly for Sludden (56), L Rafferty for Brennan (62), B McDonnell for McCurry (70 +1).

Mayo: R Byrne; L Keegan, D McBrien, D McHugh; O Mullin, A O’Shea, S Coen; J Flynn, M Ruane; F McDonagh, P Towey, F Boland; A Orme, J Doherty, R O’Donoghue. Subs: J Carney for McDonagh (35 +2), E Hession for McHugh (ht), K McLoughlin for Towey (ht), D Coen for Doherty (57), C Loftus for Boland (67).

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

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