Once Tyrone put some daylight between the sides, they went for the kill, and pulverised the Wee County with a ruthless ferocity. Two goals at the start of the second period tested their mettle and sadly they were able to show little in the way of resistance.
After Emmet McKenna had smashed home the first it was shooting practice for the Red Hands who went on to win by 17 points and it should have been more.
Mickey Harte will be hoping for a tougher test when the draw for the second round of the qualifiers is made this morning.
“We were disappointed that we weren’t more in control of the game at half-time on the scoreboard,” said Harte.
“And we put ourselves in a difficult position; if they got the upper hand at the start of the second half, we were going to be in trouble.
“The longer the game went on and the longer they stayed in touch, then the more it was going to ask questions of us than them.”
But Harte was relieved to see his side seize control after the break.
“It was very critical that we won the first ball, the first attack, and the fact that Emmet McKenna stuck away a great goal.
“It was just what we needed to get ourselves on the front foot again, and I have to say, from that on, the players really put their heads down, they worked hard, conjured up some great scores.”
It was a frustrating first half for Tyrone, who had started with lively and purposeful movement, Stephen O’Neill hitting the spot with his clever passing, and Darren McCurry knocking over three scores as they raced into a four-point lead inside six minutes.
But Louth sensed the opportunity to exploit uncertainty. Andy McDonnell and teenage sensation Ryan Burns were on target. Tyrone stretched the advantage out to five, with Connor McAliskey posting a couple of neat scores, but Brian White swept over a couple of long range frees, and at the break, just a point separated the sides, Tyrone ahead by 0-9 to 0-7.
The home side exploded into the second half, McKenna smashing home a goal from Peter Harte’s assist after just 15 seconds, and it was Mattie Donnelly who pushed forward to cross for O’Neill to palm to the net from close range five minutes later.
Louth abandoned their sweeper system, but never recovered from the devastating double setback.
Their defence came under constant pressure, and Pádraig Rath and John O’Brien’s involvement ended by black cards.
From there to the finish it was a procession to the Louth goal. McCurry finished with six points, goalkeeper Niall Morgan floated over four long range frees, Sean Cavanagh brought his tally to five, and McAliskey nailed his fourth.
They should have had a fourth goal when Plunkett Kane set one on a plate for Shay McGuigan, but the debutant hammered his shot against the crossbar from three yards.
Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry (0-6, 3fs), S Cavanagh (0-5, 4fs), C McAliskey, N Morgan (3fs, 1 45) 0-4 each, E McKenna (1-1), S O’Neill (1-0), C McGinley (0-1).
Scorers for Louth: R Burns (0-3, 1f), A McDonnell, B White (2fs), C Grimes (0-2 each), C Judge (0-1).
TYRONE: N Morgan, A McCrory, R McNamee, PJ Quinn, R McNabb, M Donnelly, P Harte, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh, E McKenna, S McGuigan, C McGinley, D McCurry, S O’Neill, C McAliskey.
Subs: Joe McMahon for C Cavanagh (53), P Kane for O’Neill (53), Justin McMashon for Donnelly (55), M Penrose for McCurry (59).
LOUTH: N Gallagher: P Rath, D Finnegan, J Bingham, J O’Brien, D Crilly, A Reid, P Keenan, M Fanning, A McDonnell, B White, D Maguire, C Judge, S Lennon, R Burns.
Subs: C Grimes for Lennon (19), D O’Hanlon for Rath (bc, 37), C Rafferty for White (42), J Stewart for O’Brien (bc, 47).
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).