Ulster SFC final: Tyrone make it two in a row with 2-17 to 0-15 win over Down

Down's Jerome Johnston in action against Conal McCann and Tiernan McCann
Down's Jerome Johnston in action against Conal McCann and Tiernan McCann
Ulster Championship final: Tyrone 2-17 Down 0-15
Tyrone scorers: R O'Neill 2-0, P Hampsey 0-3, M Donnelly 0-3, P Harte 0-2, S Cavanagh 0-2, M Bradley 0-2, C McCann 0-1, N Sludden 0-1, T McCann 0-1, L Brennan 0-1, D Mulgrew 0-1
Down scorers: D O'Hanlon 0-5, R Johnston 0-2, C Mooney 0-2, N Donnelly 0-1, C Maginn 0-1, M Cunningham 0-1, J Murphy 0-1, D McKibbin 0-1, S Millar 0-1

Tyrone retained their Ulster SFC title with a comprehensive win over Down in Sunday's decider at a sunsoaked Clones.

Tyrone led 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time but pulled away after the break, picking off regular points and scoring two goals through substitute Ronan O'Neill.

The Red Hands' 2-17 to 0-15 success secured a 15th Ulster crown for the county and a sixth Anglo-Celt Cup triumph for their manager Mickey Harte.

Defender Cathal McCarron was sent-off late on for his part in a fracas.

Tyrone's Kieran McGeary was black-carded for pulling down Jerome Johnston in first-half injury-time, with Down's Kevin McKernan perhaps unfortunate to meet a similar fate early in the second half for an off-the-ball challenge on Sean Cavanagh.

Re-live the action from the Clones final as it happened

Down's search for a first Ulster title since 1994 continues, the Mournemen now having appeared in six Ulster finals since then, losing five and drawing one.

Tyrone complete an Ulster Championship double for a fourth time, having most recently achieved the feat in 2009-10.

The seventh Ulster final between the counties and the first since 2003 saw the holders move four points clear at 0-6 to 0-2 but 12-time winners Down battled back to within a single score.

Darragh O'Hanlon fired a right-foot shot wide from close range, a crucial miss in the context of his side's revival at that stage.

After McGeary's enforced departure from the fray, Mattie Donnelly's fisted point put two points between the sides at half-time and Harte's men moved into overdrive on the resumption, registering a further seven unanswered points to lead by nine.

Ronan O'Neill celebrates after scoring one of his two goals
Ronan O'Neill celebrates after scoring one of his two goals

O'Neill goals confirm Tyrone superiority

Eamonn Burns' side came into the game more but the final was effectively over as a contest when O'Neill fired a low left-foot shot into the net in the 55th minute.

O'Neill grabbed his second nine minutes later with an exquisite left-foot chip over the head of Down goalkeeper Michael Cunningham.

Mark Poland was forced to come off injured after being accidentally caught by Colm Cavanagh's knee, with McCarron being sent to the sideline for his part in a subsequent melee involving several players from both teams.

The eventual eight-point winning margin provided an accurate representation of Tyrone's second-half dominance and the Ulster champions will now move into the All-Ireland quarter-finals with confidence.

Padraig Hampsey's impressive display was rewarded with the man-of-the-match award, with Tyrone skipper Sean Cavanagh performing well on what will be his final Ulster final appearance given his imminent retirement from inter-county football at the conclusion of the present campaign.

Down will be disappointed not to be more competitive in their first Ulster final appearance since 2012 and will now face Ulster opponents in the form of Armagh or Monaghan in the qualifiers, teams they have already beaten at provincial level this season.

How they lined up

Tyrone: N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann, P Hampsey, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C McCann; D Mulgrew, N Sludden, K McGeary; M Bradley, S Cavanagh, M Donnelly. Subs: M O'Neill, L Brennan, R Brennan, M Cassidy, R Donnelly, D McClure, D McCurry, Justin McMahon, C McShane, C Meyler, R O'Neill.

Down: M Cunningham; N McParland, G McGovern, D O'Hagan; D O'Hanlon, C McGovern, C Mooney; K McKernan, N Donnelly; J Murphy, C Maginn, S Millar; J Johnston, C Harrison, R Johnston.

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

Attendance: 31,912

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