Kildare 0-12 2-11 Tyrone

Tomas O'Connor and Conor Clarke
Kildare's Tomas O'Connor is challenged by Conor Clarke at Croke Park

Tyrone produced a superb second half to beat Kildare in the National Football League Division Two game at Croke Park.

Kildare largely bossed the first half as three Mikey Conway points helped them lead 0-6 to 0-3 at half-time.

However, impressive Peter Harte set up a Martin Penrose goal after the break which put Tyrone ahead.

Kildare edged ahead again but a glorious pass by an in-the-mood Owen Mulligan set up Harte to score Tyrone's second as Stephen O'Neill also starred.

Tommy O'Neill and Eamonn Callaghan both missed late Kildare goal chances but Tyrone deserved their victory and an excellent night for the Red Hands was topped off by Sean Cavanagh coming on for the closing moments of the game after his autumn shoulder surgery.

O'Neill hit the two opening scores for Tyrone but Kildare regrouped to control a somewhat scrappy first half with the Lilywhites hitting five points without reply at one stage.

Tomas O'Connor provided a strong physical presence at full-forward and set up a great goal chance which Padraig O'Neill blasted over the bar from close range.

Mulligan ended a 21-minute scoring drought for the Red Hands but Conway's third point of the opening period left Kildare three ahead at the break.

A mistake in the Kildare defence was punished by a superb O'Neill point after the restart and the Red Hands were in the lead when Harte stormed upfield to set up Penrose to palm past Shane Connolly.

Johnny Doyle, introduced in the first half for luckless youngster Tommy Moolick, responded with a fine Kildare point but a trademark sidestep and finish saw Mulligan firing over a glorious score which was quickly followed by a Ronan O'Neill point.

O'Neill had been introduced before half-time by Mickey Harte in a double substitution.

Kildare hit three straight points to lead again but the Red Hands were back in control as Harte dived in bravely to palm to the net after Mulligan's exquisite defence-splitting pass.

Mulligan's magic was on show once more a minute later as he dummied again before firing over from long range.

With Tyrone starting to flow, Stephen O'Neill kicked two more sensational points from distance as Kildare started to labour.

To Kildare's credit, two Conway points cut the margin to four and Tyrone nearly paid for some late slackness as Tommy O'Neill and Callaghan both flashed excellent goal chances inches wide.

But Tyrone were worth their win and Cavanagh's unexpected return to intercounty duty completed a highly satisfactory night for Mickey Harte.

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