Tyrone’s All-Ireland challenge ended by Kerry

Kerry's Shane Enright blocks Tyrone's Darren McCurry
Kerry's Shane Enright blocks Tyrone's Darren McCurry

All-Ireland champions Kerry finished with a flurry of late scores to break Tyrone hearts and book their place in next month’s final.

Éamonn Fitzmaurice’s charges engineered a five-point lead with 13 minutes remaining and looked set to comfortably seal a final date with Dublin or Mayo next month.

However, Tyrone responded with 1-2 in the space of just five minutes including a 60th minute Peter Harte penalty to level the scores.

The Red Hands couldn’t push on from there and were outscored by four points to no score in the remaining minutes as Kerry advanced impressively.

Footballer of the Year James O’Donoghue top scored with four points but it was a strong team performance overall from the Munster champions.

Sub Paul Geaney delivered three points and two within that late rally while Barry John Keane also came off the bench to fire the game’s last score.

Tyrone were left to rue missing three presentable goal chances.

“We didn’t take the chances that presented themselves in the way we ought to have done,” said Mickey Harte who indicted his desire to remain in charge next year.

“We had a number of goal chances and didn’t get any other than the penalty.

“I think we were harshly done by when we didn’t get the second penalty and a few of those frees when we got the upper hand needed to go over and they didn’t. That would have made a big difference.

“You just have to hold your hands up and say we were up against a very good team.

“I think we were as good as them on the day but they have the result and that’s what will be remembered.”

The sides shared four points inside the first four minutes.

Darren McCurry notched a brace for Tyrone while Johnny Buckley did likewise for Kerry.

Marc Ó Sé was black carded in the 15th minute for what was deemed a trip on Tyrone corner-forward Connor McAliskey.

The sides were level three times in the half before a great catch and left footed point from Kieran Donaghy nudged Kerry 0-8 to 0-7 clear at the break.

It was Donaghy’s last act as he was replaced by Geaney. Colm Cooper came to life with back-to-back points after the restart. Sub Geaney fisted one over too as Kerry moved 0-11 to 0-8 clear.

Kerry were on top in this third quarter of the game and troubled Tyrone each time they ran at them.

With 20 minutes to go, Kerry led 0-13 to 0-9 and looked well in control. Tyrone lost Ronan McNamee to a 56th minute black card. O’Donoghue converted the free to leave Kerry five up.

There was no easy run in as Tyrone’s late rally forced Kerry to dig deep for the win.