Tyrone 1-17 Cavan 0-15
Tyrone served notice of serious summer intentions with an impressive five-point defeat of Cavan in the Allianz League Division Two final at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon, writes Brendan O’Brien of the Irish Examiner.
All-Ireland semi-finalists last season, Mickey Harte’s men are unbeaten in 2016, through five McKenna Cup matches and a full league campaign that stretched to eight games with this latest outing.
They face Derry in Celtic Park in their Ulster opener.
The vast majority of the capacity Croke Park crowd was still making its way into the stadium by the time these two began what was an eminently enjoyable if frisson-free game between two sides for whom promotion already secured rather than silverware was the motivating factor all spring.
Just five of the 19 scores claimed in the opening half came from dead balls despite the fact both teams diverted scarce numbers to their forward lines. Cavan, in particular, were short numbers going forward far too frequently yet every score after the interval derived from open play.
Not your typical Ulster fare.
The sides bartered points back and forth for the majority of it with Tyrone stretching the margin by increments until they led by three at the break – 0-11 to 0-8. No player on either side had claimed more than a pair of scores by then.
Conor McAliskey eventually emerged from the pack to stand out with five points from play, though it was his fellow corner-forward Ronan O’Neill whose 49th-minute goal opened up a six-point gap from which there would be no recovering for Cavan.
Scorers for Cavan: G McKiernan (0-3, 1f); D McVeety (0-2); R Galligan (0-1 ‘45’); S Johnston (0-1 free); J McLoughlin, C Moynagh, T Corr, L Buchanan, M Reilly, D Givney, M Argue, E Keating (all 0-1).
Scorers for Tyrone: R O’Neill (1-3, 0-1 free); C McAliskey (0-5); M Donnelly (0-2); S Cavanagh (0-3); R Brennan, T McCann, P Harte, (all 0-1); M Bradley (0-1 free).
Cavan: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, K Clarke, P Faulkner; C Brady, C Moynagh, K Brady; T Corr, L Buchanan; D McVeety, G McKiernan, M Reilly; D Givney, M Argue, S Johnston.
Subs: N Murray for K Brady (25); E Keating for Johnston (46); C Mackey for Buchanan (47 BC); R Dunne for Argue (53); F Flanagan for C Brady (60); J Brady for Moynagh (66).
Tyrone: M O’Neill; C McCarron, J McMahon, R McNamee; R Brennan, A McCrory, T McCann; c Cavanagh, M Donnelly; N Sludden, M Bradley, P Harte; C McAliskey, S Cavanagh, R O’Neill.
Subs: C Meyler for Sludden (50); B Tierney for McMahon (51); R Donnelly for Bradley (56); L Brennan for O'Neill (57); K McGeary for McAliskey (62); F Burns for McCarron (71).
Referee: C Branagan (Down).