What a team! We’ve rounded up the 5 most memorable moments for Tyrone GAA in recent history.
From the turn of the century, Tyrone have established themselves as one of the most feared football teams in Ireland and one of the most dominant sides in Ulster football. Since 2001, Tyrone have won seven Ulster titles and three All-Ireland Championships.
With Mickey Harte as manager, and some of the best players to play the game in the likes of Peter Canavan and Sean Cavanagh, Tyrone have amassed an incredible set of achievements in recent years.
Here are Tyrone GAA’s top five most memorable moments in recent history.
5. 2008 All-Ireland Football Championship victory
Tyrone returned to the pinnacle of Gaelic Football after they stopped Kerry from winning three in a row. This was the third time Tyrone defeated Kerry in Championship football that decade, and a second time in the final.
Tyrone were forced to do it the hard way in 2008 after losing to Down in Ulster. The defeat was a blessing in disguise as Tyrone built momentum through the Qualifiers with three consecutive wins.
Tyrone demolished Dublin in the Quarter-Final to announce themselves as genuine contenders for the 2008 crown. With victory over surprise package Wexford in the last four, the only hurdle remaining was Kerry.
Tyrone were four-point winners on the day, capping off a sensational decade in the county’s history.
4. Defeating Kerry in the 2003 All-Ireland Football Championship Semi-Final
A sign of things to come, Tyrone’s remarkable victory over Kerry was one of the defining moments of this era. Ulster football is gruelling and competitive, and Tyrone brought this intensity and manic work-rate to Croke Park in August 2003.
The statistics looked clearly in Kerry’s favour with 32 All-Ireland titles, while Tyrone had yet to register a single All-Ireland victory. Tyrone paid no head.
Highlights will show four or five Tyrone men suffocating and trapping a single Kerry man on the ball. This set the tone for a game that Kerry could not control and created a problem that Kerry could not solve.
In the end, Tyrone were comfortable seven-point winners at 0-13 to 0-6. It was a stunning victory symbolised by hard work, determination, intensity, and skill.
3. Back-to-back Ulster Championship Titles 2016-2017
One of Tyrone’s foremost achievements in recent years was reclaiming the Ulster crown in 2016 and winning it back-to-back for the first time since 2010.
Between 2011 and 2015, Donegal and Monaghan overtook Tyrone and dominated the Ulster Championship. A lot of people had doubted Tyrone and boss Mickey Harte, but the Red Hands refused to listen.
Victory over Donegal in 2016 was a massive psychological success as Donegal had defeated Tyrone four times in the Ulster Championship since 2011.
With a comfortable victory over Down in 2017, Tyrone restamped their authority on Ulster and became regular contenders again for All-Ireland glory, with two semi-final appearances in 2015 and 2017.
2. 2005 All-Ireland Football Championship victory
The second of Tyrone’s All-Ireland titles, it is the manner in which the Tyrone squad regrouped after the death of captain Cormac McAnellan in 2004 that makes this victory so special.
McAnellan was a massive inspiration for Tyrone and a pivotal part of the 2003 All-Ireland winning team. Tyrone lost out to Donegal in Ulster, and then to Mayo in the 2004 All-Ireland Quarter Final.
2005 showed how strong this Tyrone group was, overcoming defeat to Armagh in Ulster to contest two legendary games with Dublin in the All-Ireland Quarter Final and emerge victorious in the replay.
Revenge against Armagh in the semi-final set up a final against Kerry, the incumbent champions. Peter Canavan’s goal was decisive as Tyrone won by three points, and once again left Croke Park as the best football team in Ireland.
1. 2003 All-Ireland Championship Victory
2003 was the coming of age of the modern Tyrone GAA machine. Up until that year, the Red Hand County had not won an All-Ireland title. Winning their first All-Ireland counts as the county’s best achievement.
Tyrone claimed the Ulster Championship with a resounding 0-23 to 1-5 victory over Down. A dominant display brushed away the challenge of fellow Ulstermen Fermanagh in the All-Ireland Quarter Final.
While some labelled their style of play as “puke football,” it was their ferocious intensity that helped the Red Hands claim a stunning victory over Kerry in the Semi-Final.
The final was played against Ulster rivals and current All-Ireland holders Armagh, but Tyrone were the stronger side on the day finishing with three points to spare in a 0-12 to 0-9 victory, the first of three All-Ireland titles over the next five years.
Recent history has treated Tyrone well. The Ulstermen went from winning sporadic Ulster titles to All-Ireland Champions and regular contenders year in and year out.
With a return to the Ulster pedestal and a number of appearances late in the Championship, Tyrone are sure to add to the many memorable moments they have already created.