1 Cathal strikes gold
No Cathal McShane goal, no All-Ireland final against Mayo? Tyrone were two points in arrears in the 68th minute when the big Owen Roes man pounced to palm the ball into the net. In a move which began with a Niall Morgan kick-out, Frank Burns showed no little skill in pirouetting around a Kerry player before shipping the ball to Mattie Donnelly. Donnelly found a gap between two opponents before teeing up Darragh Canavan, who was already heading straight towards goal. His shot wasn’t the best, but it mattered little as the goalie parried straight into the path of Cathal McShane, who was never going to miss. He jumped for joy while the Tyrone fans went buck mad, and Tyrone never trailed for the rest of the game.
2 Conor McKenna’s second goal
Kerry will have nightmares about this one, but you have to commend Conor McKenna for his no-nonsense finish to the corner of the net five minutes into extra-time. Down at the other end of the pitch, Paudie Clifford, under severe pressure from three Tyrone defenders, passes the ball to literally nobody, and Kieran McGeary says ‘don’t mind if I do’ and drives forward. Fast forward a few moments and McGeary ends up taking possession again, and his wayward shot on goal is kept in play thanks to the hard work of Tiarnan McCann. Jack Barry swings a boot at the ball, but Conor McKenna is there to intercept and he lashes a shot to the net. All of a sudden, Tyrone hold a five-point lead against the raging hot favourites.
3 Cometh the hour, cometh Darren McCurry
It had been a frustrating sort of afternoon for Darren McCurry, but his head never dropped and he showed massive courage to strike two points from play in the closing stages before extra-time. His second point was absolutely pivotal. With 75 minutes on the clock, McCurry pointed Tyrone into the lead after 18 uninterrupted passes from his teammates. At one stage, they looked bottled up in the corner, but they calmly ferried the ball back towards the ‘45’ before heading back towards goals. McCurry loitered dangerously, and anticipating just what was about to happen, timed his run to perfection before gathering the ball and dinking it between the posts. Kieran McGeary raised both arms in celebration as it looked for all the world like the game’s winner – but a late free sent the game into extra-time. Still a crucial score regardless.
4 Morgan denies a certain goal
In the 65th minute, Niall Morgan, under no pressure, kicked the ball straight over the sideline. From the resulting play, Adrian Spillane did brilliantly to flick the size five onwards while under severe pressure, leaving a two-on-two situation at the back. And it wasn’t just any two Kerry forwards with goal on their mind – Seanie O’Shea’s looping handpass towards David Clifford was possibly just too high, and Niall Morgan showed exceptional timing and bravery to punch the ball clear. It’s fair to say he made up with his earlier mistake with that one. Kerry ended up scoring a point anyway, but a goal would’ve left a possibly insurmountable four-point gap as full-time approached.
5 A six-point turnaround
Stephen O’Brien’s disallowed goal in the 22nd minute of the first half was, it’s fair to say, a bit of a calamity. Who knows what went through his head when he strayed into the square instead of waiting patiently for Sean O’Shea’s handpass across goal, and the worst thing about it? Tyrone scored a goal of their own literally two minutes later. David Clifford lost the ball after a botched solo, and the Red Hand cavalry did the rest as fantastic build-up play from Peter Harte and Niall Sludden culminated in a well-taken Conor McKenna goal.
6 Harte puts his body on the line
Peter Harte’s stunning diving block on Killian Spillane in the second half drew automatic comparisons with Conor Gormley’s famous effort in the 2003 All-Ireland final. We’ll let you compare the two, but there’s no doubt that Harte’s block was a crucially important moment in the game. In terms of how it all happened, Sean O’Shea gathered an advanced mark under the Hogan Stand, and he quickly threaded the ball to Spillane, who got ready to unleash a shot on goal with his left foot. Peter Harte seemed to appear out of nowhere as he made a perfectly timed block, injuring himself in the process. There was no margin for error, and while Kerry scored from the resulting ‘45’, it was a significant let off for Tyrone.
7 A huge play from Mattie Donnelly
Jack Barry is a beast of a man, but Mattie Donnelly is no shrinking violent and staged a massive interception in the early stages of extra-time when he thundered into the big Kerry midfielder after a slack pass from a colleague. Cathal McShane picked up the loose ball, traded passes with Donnelly and slotted the ball over the bar with the Kerry defence all at sea. All of a sudden, Tyrone held a two-point lead and even better was to follow when Conor McKenna scored his second goal of the game shortly afterwards.
8 One of the great Croke Park scores
Croke Park is 145 metres long, so that means that Niall Morgan’s pointed free in the dying moments of the first-half was from roughly 70 metres from goal. Which, it’s fair to say, is a lot. It was almost surprising to see him take the free in the first place (and David Coldrick made sure he didn’t steal a few yards). His connection with the ball was sweet and true but it was still hard not to do a double take when the umpire raised the white flag. Morgan’s body language suggested even he was surprised by the outcome, and it was a score of some psychological significance as well as it gave Tyrone a one-point lead heading into the half-time interval.
9 Meyler leaves Moynihan trailing in his wake
Paudie Clifford had been one of the stars of the championship, but he hadn’t met a man like Conor Meyler. Not only did Meyler do a superb marking job, but he took Clifford on a tour of Croke Park, attacking at every available opportunity. He wasn’t the only Kerry player who felt the full brunt of the Meyler experience as in the 14th minute he left Dara Moynihan looking sluggish as he burned him for pace before setting up a Ronan McNamee score. It surely must’ve sent alarm bells ringing from a Kerry perspective – wasn’t this supposed to be a fairly handy one for us?
10 Clifford goes off injured
It seems a bit cruel to highlight this one, but it didn’t exactly help Kerry’s cause that David Clifford didn’t play any part in extra-time. He’d been virtually unremarkable up until then, scoring six points from play even though Ronan McNamee was doing a highly respectable job in the circumstances. However, he picked up a knock before full-time, and it wasn’t long before Tyrone took advantage as Niall Morgan started playing short kick-outs in the direction of McNamee. When he didn’t return for the first period of extra-time, it must’ve been a major boost for Tyrone.