Derby win pushes Tyrone closer to Division 1 safety

Derby win pushes Tyrone closer to Division 1 safety

Tyrone 1-15 - 0-9 Cavan

A second successive Ulster derby win pushed Tyrone closer to Division One safety, as they saw off 14-man Cavan at Healy Park.

The Breffni county had key man Killian Clarke send off on a second booking at the start of the second half, and that was the end of their challenge.

Peter Harte rifled home the only goal of the game in the 51st minute, and there was no way back for the visitors.

With just one win in five outings, they face a serious test in trying to avoid an immediate return to NFL Division Two.

The Red Hands, with a strong wind in their backs, soon got into their stride, and Connor McAliskey, making his first start of the season, edged them in front with a free.

Niall Sludden added a neat score, and Cathal McShane’s mark made it 0-3 to 0-1 by the tenth minute.

They adopted a counter-attacking approach, defending in numbers and stretching the visitors with their pace and support play.

Mattie Donnelly presented a constant threat, winning the free that McAliskey converted for a four points advantage, and while Cavan had gone almost 20 minutes without a score before Martin Reilly nailed a free, they were happy enough to be just three behind, given the breeze blowing in their faces.

With Conor Moynagh and Christopher Conroy standing firm, Mickey Graham’s men held out against a Tyrone side struggling to find the openings their approach play was threatening, but Donnelly’s surge created a score for Kieran McGeary, and points form Harte and Sludden gave them some breathing space at the break, 0-8 to 0-4.

Midfielder Clarke, one of Cavan’s key figures, picked up second booking less than two minutes into the second half, and they faced a virtually impossible task with 14 men.

McAliskey and Frank Burns tagged on points and it was the creativity and vision of substitute Darren McCurry that carved the opening for Harte to fire his shot to the bottom corner of Raymond Galligan’s net for the only goal of the game.

Another replacement, Kyle Coney, added a spectacular score, and the Red Hands were soon ten points clear.

But with Cavan dropping men back in a damage limitation exercise, Tyrone were unable to express themselves to the full extent of their attacking capabilities, and managed just four points in the final quarter.

Corner-back Hugh Pat McGeary exploited space to pick off a couple of scores, and with Mattie Donnelly making forceful runs at the Cavan defence, they added another, with Harte bringing his tally to 1-3.

Cavan substitute Cian Mackey pulled back three points, including one of the two they managed from play in the entire game, but there was never any doubt about the outcome.

Tyrone: N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, HP McGeary (0-2); T McCann, F Burns (0-1), C Meyler, B McDonnell, R Donnelly; M Donnelly (0-1, f), N Sludden (0-2), K McGeary (0-1); C McAliskey (0-3, 3f), C McShane (0-1, m), P Harte (1-3, 0-3f).

Subs: D McCurry for McAliskey (44), K Coney (0-1) for McShane (45), H Loughran for K McGeary (53), L Brennan for McNamee (58), R Brennan for Hampsey (60)

Cavan: R Galligan (0-1, f); J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh; C Brady, C Conroy, C Rehill; P Graham, K Clarke; M Reilly (0-1), D McVeety (0-1), N Murray; N Clerkin, J Brady (0-2, 2f), C Madden.

Subs: G Smith for Clerkin (h-t), T Galligan for Graham (h-t), N McKiernan (0-1, f) for Brady (48), C Mackey (0-3, 2f) for Conroy (53), S Murray for N Murray (66)

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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