Totemic Tyrone scores


1: Owen Mulligan

Tyrone v Dublin, 2005

I’VE probably watched clips of Owen Mulligan’s famous goal against Dublin dozens of times at this stage, which suggests two things: I have no life, and that it really is a remarkable, stand-out moment in the history of the GAA. ‘Mugsy’s’ audacious dummies are the main reason why it’s so renowned, but there were so many other elements at play from Brian McGuigan’s block on Alan Brogan down the other end of the pitch, Stephen O’Neill’s stunning pick-up and pass, and Mulligan’s sublime finish to the roof of the net. And that’s without even delving into the context of the strike – Tyrone were three points down at the time and Mulligan’s form had been hitherto indifferent. Arguably the greatest goal ever.

2: Peter Canavan

Tyrone v Kerry, 2005

ONE of the lads on the Off The Ball podcast recently compared Peter Canavan’s goal to a piece of ballet, and it really was an aesthetic wonder. Philip Jordan delivered an inch-perfect cross-field pass towards Owen Mulligan (it was no hit and hoper, he knew exactly what he was doing), and ‘Mugsy’ held off Paul Galvin as Peter Canavan arched a brilliant run towards the square (and in doing so completely fooled his direct marker Seamus Moynihan). Then, with his weaker foot, Canavan basically passed the ball into the net, and the rest is history: Tyrone won their second All-Ireland in three years and Canavan announced his retirement on The Sunday Game later that night. What a way to bow out.

3: Brian Dooher

Tyrone v Kerry, 2008

MICKEY Harte described this as the greatest point Croke Park has ever seen. Brian Dooher gathered the ball on the Cusack Stand endline 80 yards from goal, and shipped a number of challenges – including an attempted shoulder from Darragh O’Se – as he embarked on one of his trademark lung-bursting runs. How he stayed on his feet throughout defies description, and all of a sudden he found himself with the posts in view; the angle was tricky but it was no bother to the Tyrone skipper. It sent a serious message to Kerry as well – ‘we’re not handing you the three in-a-row’ – and Tyrone went on to win the Sam Maguire for the third time in six years.

4: Stephen O’Neill

Tyrone v Kildare, 2013

YOU could nearly fill the list with Stephen O’Neill points and nothing else. His two late points against Kildare in the 2013 Division One semi-final almost come as a pair, so we’ll include them both here. In the first instance, he left Kildare wing-back, Peter Kelly looking foolish with a fantastic solo dummy before splitting the posts from an almost impossible angle. Then a couple of minutes later he basically did the same thing, only from the other side of the pitch, selling a dummy before squeezing over another physics-defying point, this time with the outside of his foot. I don’t speak Irish, but the commentator on TG4 was moved to laughter by both efforts which said it all.

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Tyrone v Dublin, 2009

ANOTHER Stephen O’Neill score? Sure why not. The Clann na nGael magician had a field day against Dublin under lights in the opening Division One fixture back in 2009. He scored point-after-point in the first half in his first full game for Tyrone in more than a year (remember, he came back for the 2008 final after announcing an early retirement). One of his points was particularly special – Enda McGinley floated in a nice delivery, but Paddy Andrews shunted O’Neill towards the endline and it seemed like Dublin were safe. Not so, as O’Neill somehow got his angles right with the in-step of his left foot and the ball crept over the black spot, much to the amazement of the 80,000 people in attendance. Even some Dublin fans applauded.

6: Sean Cavanagh

Tyrone v Donegal, 2016

HAS Sean Cavanagh ever scored a better point? Tyrone were absolutely desperate to beat Donegal in the 2016 Ulster final, and the defining difference on the day was the second-half performance of Sean Cavanagh. He scored an absolutely unbelievable point in the closing stages to draw matters level, breaking through three Donegal challenges before finding the target from all of 40 yards even though he had absolutely no space to work in whatsoever (and it didn’t even look like it was going to go over as he absolutely skied it). An almost miraculous score that deserves repeated watching.

7: Peter Harte

Tyrone v Donegal, 2016

What a way to win the Ulster final – and what a way to beat the blanket defence. Peter Harte loitered dangerously behind the 45-metre line as the ball was recycled in the closing stages of a gripping encounter against Donegal, and as soon as he got his hands on the size five, he absolutely leathered it with the outside of his left foot and it went sailing over the crossbar with plenty to spare, – some going considering he was about 55 yards out at the time. It gave Tyrone a one-point lead against their nemesis at the time, and Kieran McGeary’s insurance point ensured the Anglo Celt was coming back to Tyrone for the first time in six years.

8: Peter Canavan

Tyrone v Armagh, 2005

CANAVAN kicked points like these in his sleep, but the context of this particular free sees it make our list. There was nothing to separate Tyrone and Armagh after 70 minutes of helter-skelter action in the All-Ireland semi-final, but the Red Hands were awarded a free about 25 yards from goal after Ciaran McKeever was adjudged to have tugged Stephen O’Neill’s jersey. After a bit of a debate, Peter Canavan was handed the task of taking one of the most important kicks ever in the history of Tyrone GAA. He found the target into the Hill 16 end and in doing so sent Tyrone into the All-Ireland final as Paddy Russell blew the final whistle from the resulting kick-out.

9: Stephen O’Neill

Tyrone v Mayo, 2004

TALK about picking your spot. Stephen O’Neill’s screamer flew into the top right-hand corner of the net on an otherwise disappointing day out in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo. The Red Hands were under the cosh, but they won the ball at midfield and worked it towards an in-form O’Neill, and rather than take the easy option of a point, he scored possibly the best goal of 2004. Tyrone failed to push on even though it drew the game level, but we can still marvel at the accuracy, power and audacity of O’Neill’s strike.

10: Joe McMahon

Tyrone v Down, 2010

A FORGOTTEN gem. While we all know how important Joe McMahon was to Tyrone, he wasn’t really renowned for kicking incredible points. That’s why you need to give this particular effort a watch on YouTube if you’ve forgotten about it; Tyrone were three points down at a sun-drenched Casement Park when McMahon picked the ball up on his own 45 line (no exaggeration). He showed immense composure to maintain possession while hugging the sideline before space open up to him and he blasted over an incredible effort from distance. Tyrone went onto win the match, and in hindsight it was a very impressive victory indeed given that Down team ended up reaching the All-Ireland final.

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