A comfortable seven points defeat of Ulster rivals Monaghan has come too late to provide a launchpad for an assault on the league title, but it just may be the beginning of a defiant climb out of the relegation zone.
Monaghan, after settling pulses racing with an opening day win over Dublin, have since slumped to three straight defeats, and now they find themselves in the drop zone and in need of some inspiration.
Peter Harte was in the form of his life at Healy Park, turning in an electrifying attacking display, and a 1-6 haul could have been considerably greater had a brilliant effort at a lobbed goal not gone narrowly wide during a dominant spell in the second half.
The game was effectively won in that 20-minutes spell after half-time when they reeled off eighth points without reply. Monaghan had been restored to the full compliment of 15 players following Dessie Ward’s ten minutes in the sin-bin, having conceded just one point while a man down, but they could find no way to half the Red Hand attacking machine.
Harte gave Rory Beggan no chance with a brilliant fourth minute strike which flew into the top corner of the net, after Mattie Donnelly and Liam Rafferty had combined.
That score looked set to send the Red Hands on tehir way, but McManus was in defiant form at the other end, hitting three brilliant points from play and taking an offensive mark off All-Star marker Padraig Hampsey.
He brought the sides level at 1-2 to 0-5, but two Harte frees restored the Red Hands’ two points advantage.
Niall Sludden extended the lead, but Jack McCarron arrowed over a brilliant score and converted a tricky free to keep the Farney right in it.
Tyrone crafted another goal chance, with Harte sending Ben McDonnell through, but the wing back blazed his shot over the crossbar.
After Dessie Ward picked up a black card on 32 minutes, Monaghan retreated with all 14 men camped deep in their own half as the Red Hands attempted to counter with the aid of an extra man, and it paid off, as the home side failed to add to their 1-7 tally, and went in at the break with a three points lead.
Tyrone, having managed just one point during Ward’s ten minute visit to the sin-bin, reeled off eight points on the spin to take control, giving themselves an 11 points lead at one stage.
Harte was playing with joy and abandon, running at the Monaghan defence, picking off scores and providing opportunities for his team-mates.
Kieran McGeary, Niall Morgan (free), Conor Meyler and Cathal McShane also steered over points as the Red Hands went on all-out attack, while keeping it secure at the back as well.
The Monaghan attack was living off scraps, but Stephen O’Hanlon did manage to cut in from the left to get a shot away, ‘keeper which Morgan was equal to.
They had gone more than half an hour without a score before Ryan McAnespie found the target, and while McManus added three more, they were a well beaten side by that stage, and Tyrone were well on their way to a much-needed success.
N Morgan (0-2, 2f); L Rafferty, R McNamee, M McKernan; T McCann, P Hampsey, B McDonnell (0-1); B Kennedy, R Donnelly; M Donnelly, N Sludden (0-1), F Burns; C McShane (0-3, 2f), P Harte (1-6, 3f, 1om), K McGeary (0-1).
Subs: C Meyler (0-1) for Rafferty (h-t), D McClure (0-1) for Kennedy (61), C McAliskey for R Donnelly (65), H Loughran for Sludden (67).
Subs: K O’Connell for Kerr (42), C McCarthy for McCarron (42), V Corey for Carey (53), O Duffy for Malone (59), M Bannigan for Ward (65)
Referee: C Branagan (Down).