Harte warns Tyrone need to ‘change script’ after Cavan fright

Padraig McNulty, Tyrone, in action against Killian Clarke and Damien O'Reilly, Cavan. McKenna Cup Final, Tyrone v Cavan, Athletic Grounds, Armagh. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Tyrone 1-13 Cavan 0-10: Dr McKenna Cup final: Mickey Harte admitted Tyrone needed to "change the script" in order to secure another four-in-a-row of McKenna Cup titles after Saturday night’s win in the Athletic Grounds.

It took three half-time substitutions and a more committed, energetic approach to the second half to turn the game on its head, Tyrone outscoring their opponents by 1-7 to no score in the second half to emulate the four-in-a-row previously achieved in 2004–2007.

Cavan were good value for their 0-10 to 0-6 lead at the interval, with nine of their points coming from play and six different players getting on the scoresheet.

Despite the loss of suspended Gearoid McKiernan (whom an Ulster Council statement confirmed had issued an apology to Monaghan’s Drew Wylie over comments made during last week’s tie), Cavan bossed the first half.

Martin Dunne scored four points, three from play, but he missed a great goal chance in the 26th minute which might have given Cavan an unassailable lead.

Still, Cavan had every reason to believe that they were closing in on a first trophy at senior level since winning this competition in 2000. But then Harte worked the half time oracle.

Tyrone raised their game and brought on big guns like Mattie Donnelly, Colm Cavanagh and Darren McCurry who all made an instant impact. McCurry landed four points, three were spectacular left-footed, difficult, kicks.

Another big plus for the Red Hands was the leadership shown by one of the new faces, midfielder Padraig McNulty, who scored two fine points. Tyrone were level at 0-10 apiece after 56 minutes and a minute later, Niall McKenna latched on to Sean Cavanagh’s knock-down and drilled the ball into the net to complete the turnaround.

Scorers for Tyrone: D McCurry 0-4 (1f), S Cavanagh 0-3 (3f), N McKenna 1-0, P McNulty 0-2, N Morgan 0-1 (f), K Coney 0-1 (f), P Kane 0-1, C McCann 0-1

Scorers for Cavan: M Dunne 0-4 (1f), N McDermott 0-2, M Lyng 0-1, K Clarke 0-1, M McKeever 0-1, N Murray 0-1.

TYRONE: N Morgan; A McCrory, Justin McMahon, C McCarron; R McNabb, Joe McMahon, B Tierney; P McNulty, C McCann; Mark Donnelly, R O’Neill, P Kane; K Coney, S Cavanagh, N McKenna.

Subs: Mattie Donnelly for Joe McMahon (HT), C Cavanagh for Kane (HT), D McCurry for Coney (HT), P Harte for Mark Donnelly (44), R McNamee for McCarron (62).

CAVAN: C Gilsenan; K Brady, R Dunne, J Hayes; N Murray, P Smith, M McKeever; D O’Reilly, K Clarke; M Reilly, M Lyng, D McVeety; R Flanagan, N McDermott, M Dunne.

Subs: C Moynagh for Hayes (HT), J Brady for Lyng (44), E Hessin for Moynagh (55), T Corr for McKeever (59), P Tinnelly for O’Reilly (68)

Referee: Ronan Barry (Down).


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