TYRONE are through to the All-Ireland semi-final for an historic third successive year after a hard-fought 2-15 to 2-12 victory over Cork this evening at Croke Park.
But it took a brilliant second half display to see Red Hands through against a determined challenge from the Rebel county. Two second half goals from Cathal McShane and then a penalty strike from Peter Harte gave them the edge.
It was looking bad, though, for the Red Hands during the opening stages of the tie when Cork grabbed the intiiative. It took Luke Connolly only 15 seconds to hit the net, and former Antrim player, James Loughrey, fired home a second by the end of the first quarter.
That left Cork seven points up, 2-3, to 0-2 and demanded urgent action from the Red Hands, who had been pre-match favourites to progress.
But the situation facing them was still fairly bleak at the break when they trailed by 2-5 to 0-5.
However, it was a transformed Red Hand side on the resumption when they really upped the tempo. The introduction of Padraig Hampsey, Michael Cassidy and Richard Donnelly was a signal of intent and they played with a lot more determination and verve.
Team captain, Mattie Donnelly, led by example as Peter Harte, Frank Burns and Colm Cavanagh all made important contributions as the Red Hands came from behind.
Those two goals put them ahead and, while Cork continued to press, late scores finally saw Tyrone through. Cathal McShane, Tiarnan McCann and Mattie Donnelly all registered points to keep distance between them and Cork during those closing stages.
The result means that Tyrone are now through to their fifth All-Ireland semi-final of this decade.
Next up for them is the phase three Super Eight clash against Dublin in two weeks at Healy Park in Omagh.