All-Ireland Super 8s: Tyrone battle back in second half to beat Cork 2-15 to 2-12

Mattie Donnelly
Mattie Donnelly's move into the full-forward line was vital to Tyrone's second half revival

Tyrone are through to the All-Ireland semi-finals after producing a second half fight-back to overcome Cork 2-15 to 2-12 at Croke Park.

The Rebels took a five-point lead into the break after early goals from Luke Connolly and James Loughrey.

However Cathal McShane and Peter Harte led a Red Hands revival with goals after the restart.

Tyrone will host Dublin at Healy Park on 4 August, with the winners taking top spot in Super 8s Group Two.

Mickey Harte's side will know that in the Championship semi-final a week after their Dublin game, a first half performance like the one they produced against Cork on Saturday will put their title aspirations to bed.

The Tyrone boss will however take great satisfaction from the second 35 minutes, in which the Ulster side showed impressive adaptability to turn to the game on its head.

Fired-up Cork show top tier pedigree

For 55 minutes against Dublin last week Cork did enough to suggest that they were a much better side than their relegation to Division Three earlier this year suggested.

Again on Saturday the Rebels showed that they are a far stronger side than their league position indicates, and will leave Dublin disappointed that their semi-final aspirations are now over.

Luke Connolly
Luke Connolly's goal put Cork in front after just 15 seconds

It took just 15 seconds for Connolly to drill the ball underneath Niall Morgan for the opening goal as Cork tore through their opponents from the throw-in.

Ronan McCarthy's side knew how Tyrone were going to set-up defensively, and sought to break through the white and red wall by displaying extreme patience in possession.

Indeed Loughrey's goal, lashed high into the net on 15 minutes, came after 23 hand-passes which eventually found the defender in space.

At the other end Tyrone could not keep the scoreboard ticking over as they usually do, and at one stage of the half went 18 minutes without a score.

Donnelly leads Tyrone charge

After a lacklustre first half, manager Harte was unwilling to allow the same players to try and redeem themselves after the break, immediately introducing Richie Donnelly, Padraig Hampsey and Michael Cassidy.

While defensively Tyrone gambled on a man-to-man approach, captain Mattie Donnelly was pushed into the full-forward line to offer McShane some much needed support.

Within 10 minutes of the restart last year's finalists had turned a five-point deficit into a two-point lead.

Donnelly found Michael McKernan who squared across goal for McShane to fist in just four minutes before Harte rifled in a penalty awarded for Mattie Taylor's foul on Niall Sludden.

The Trillick skipper's three points from play allowed Tyrone to create enough of a gap to ensure that Cork's late revival was in vain.

There is no doubting who Tyrone's main attacking threats are, with McShane and Harte having scored 4-72 between them in the Red Hands' eight Championship games this summer, however Donnelly's ability to contribute in key moments is likely to be called upon again as they go deeper into the competition.

Cork: M White; S Cronin, Th Clancy, K Flahive; L O'Donovan, T Clancy, M Taylor (0-1); I Maguire, K O'Hanlon; K O'Driscoll, S White (0-1), R Deane; M Collins (0-2, 2f), B Hurley, L Connolly (1-3, 3f).

Subs: M Martin, K O'Donovan, J Loughrey (1-0), S Powter, C Kiely, R O'Toole, E McSweeney, J O'Rourke (0-1), P Kerrigan, M Hurley (0-4), S Sherlock

Tyrone: N Morgan; HP McGeary, R McNamee, R Brennan; M McKernan, K McGeary, F Burns; C Cavanagh, B Kennedy; M Donnelly (0-3), N Sludden, P Harte (1-5, 3f); D McCurry, C McShane (1-5, 4f), C Meyler (0-1).

Subs: B Gallen, M Cassidy, K Coney, R Donnelly, P Hampsey, C McAliskey, C McCann, T McCann (0-1), D McClure, A McCrory, B McDonnell.