High-scoring encounter at Healy Park

Tyrone 1-18 Monaghan 0-17

Tyrone 1-18 Monaghan 0-17

Tyrone and Monaghan defied the weather to serve up a high-scoring encounter at Healy Park, but both failed to qualify for the Gaelic Life Dr McKenna Cup semi-finals.

Mickey Harte’s decision to include both Stephen O’Neill and Sean Cavanagh in his attack paid off handsomely. The pair hit seven points each, with O’Neill in particular showing many touches of his old magic.

Both were bettered, however, by Monaghan’s Tommy Freeman, who finished with a 10-point haul, but he shouldered too much of the scoring burden for Seamus McEnaney’s side.

Tommy Freeman was on fire in the early stages, hitting three points as Monaghan raced into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead by the sixth minute, impressive wing back Conor McManus also on target.

But once Tyrone got into their stride, there was that familiar intent about their game, and with Sean Cavanagh and Stephen O’Neill both operating in the front line, the scores started to flow.

Both players fired over quality points, and Tommy McGuigan also chipped in with a point to complement his playmaking role.

The All-Ireland champions took the lead for the first time in the 22nd minute when midfield prospect Aidan Cassidy made ground through the middle before offloading to Enda McGinley, who finished with a firmly-struck shot to the bottom corner of the net.

O’Neill and Cavanagh nailed on points for a Tyrone side now firmly in command, with Freeman, the only Monaghan attacker to score in the first half, bringing his tally to six.

Tyrone, who led by 1-9 to 0-8 at the break, stretched the advantage to seven before the end of the third quarter, with young prospect Aidan Cassidy making his mark in midfield.

O’Neill and Cavanagh continued to torment and finish unerringly, but the visitors staged a revival, and substitutes Paul Meegan, Paul McGuigan and Dessie Mone all got their names on the scoresheet.

But the Red Hand scoring power was just to much for the Farney men to overcome, and O’Neill, who came out of retirement last September, received a standing ovation when he was substituted a minute from the end.

Tyrone: J Curran, M McGee, J McMahon, P Jordan, D Harte, P Donnelly, M Swift, E McGinley (1-1), A Cassidy, R Mellon, T McGuigan (0-1), R Mulgrew, G Devlin (0-2), S Cavanagh (0-7, 4f), S O’Neill (0-7, 2f).

Subs: M Penrose for Mellon (42), K Hughes for Donnelly (48), J McAnulla for Devlin (61), C O’Donnell for O’Neill (69), C Holmes for McGinley (69)

Monaghan: P McBennett, D McArdle, M McNally, G McEnaney, V Corey, J Conlon, C McManus (0-1), D Clerkin (0-1), P Finlay (0-1, 1f), S Gollogly, S Smith, D Freeman, C Hanratty, B McKenna, T Freeman (0-10, 7f).

Subs: M Downey for D Freeman (h-t), R Woods for Smith (h-t), P Meegan (0-2) for Hanratty (45), P McGuigan (0-1) for Conlon (46, yellow card), D Mone (0-1) for Hughes (60), S Smith for McKenna (67)

Referee: JJ Cleary (Derry)

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