Tyrone come back from four-point deficit at the break to send Cavan into relegation dogfight

Tyrone come back from four-point deficit at the break to send Cavan into relegation dogfight

By Francis Mooney

Tyrone 0-19 Cavan 1-9

Tyrone turned on the power in the second half to take over the leadership of the Division One table and send Cavan crashing into a relegation dogfight.

An entertaining Ulster derby was ultra-competitive in the opening half, indeed the Breffni men led by four points at the turnaround, with the help of a Gearoid McKiernan goal.

But that was with the wind in their backs, and once the Red Hand got the opportunity to play more direct and forceful football, they took Mattie McGleenan’s side apart.

Cavan set up with a well organised defensive system as they attempted to keep out the marauding Tyrone men, and it worked a treat in the opening 10 minutes as they broke from deep to nail points through McKiernan and Dara McVeety.

A hard-pressed Breffni rearguard started to cough up frees, which Sean Cavanagh, making his first start of the season, slotting between the posts before midfielder Padraig McNulty charged through for the lead point on 13 minutes.

The visitors countered again for McKiernan to score his second, before wing back Martin Reilly took matters into his own hands with three points, two of them spectacular efforts from distance.

The sides were level on six occasions as Peter Harte steered over a couple of frees and Colm Cavanagh squeezed over a point from an acute angle.

But late in the half, McKiernan hit a 1-1 salvo to give his side the edge.

Tyrone were guilty of switching off at the back, allowing Veety the chance to slip the ball to Conor Madden, and his flick found the inrushing McKiernan, who palmed the ball past Niall Morgan for a 1-8 to 0-7 interval lead.

But the Red Hands, now with wind advantage, started the second half strongly, with Cavanagh and Kieran McGeary both on target to narrow the gap.

They crafted a goal chance through Mattie Donnelly and Darren McCurry, but Cavanagh’s shot lacked power, and was easily dealt with by McKiernan.

However, Tyrone were now dominant, and out-scored their opponents by seven points to one in the third quarter as they forged ahead.

Tyrone come back from four-point deficit at the break to send Cavan into relegation dogfight

Adapting a more direct approach, they swept forward from the back and targeted Donnelly and Cavanagh with the long ball.

But it was the arrival of Mark Bradley off the bench that really got the Red Hand machine purring.

He shot three eye-catching points, and despite the loss of defender Ronan McNamee and attacker Darren McCurry to black cards, there was no stopping the Tyrone men.

Goalkeeper Niall Morgan thumped a 50 metre free between the posts, and another sub, Ronan O’Neill, claimed a couple of late points as they romped to a seven-point success.

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-1, f); P Hampsey, J McMahon, C McCarron; T McCann (0-1), R Brennan, A McCrory; C Cavanagh (0-1), P McNulty (0-1); C Meyler, K McGeary (0-1), P Harte (0-4, 4f); D McCurry (0-1), S Cavanagh (0-3, 3f), M Donnelly (0-1).

Subs: R McNamee for Brennan (h-t), M Bradley (0-3) for McNulty (44), J Munroe for McNamee (BC 45), F Burns for McMahon (50), R O’Neill (0-2) for McCurry (BC 52)

Cavan: R Galligan; R Dunne, K Brady, J McLoughlin; C Brady, C Moynagh, M Reilly (0-3); T Corr, G McKiernan (1-4, 0-2f); G Smith, D McVeety (0-1), N Clerkin; N Murray, C Madden (0-1), P O’Connor.

Subs: C Mackey for Clerkin (h-t), S Murray for N Murray (h-t), F Reilly for McLoughlin (49), G McCutcheon for Clerkin (55)

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

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