McKiernan inspires Cavan
Cavan had little time to celebrate their third title at this level at Brewster Park last night, with just a couple of days to recover ahead of Saturday's All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford.
Cavan struck gold with the fastest goal of the campaign, Niall Murray nipping in to find the net after just 10 seconds after the Tyrone defence had failed to clear Gearoid McKiernan's delivery.
McKiernan was an inspirational figure throughout for the Breffni side, who defended in numbers, tackled ferociously and attacked swiftly on the break.
Tyrone responded with scores from Mattie Donnelly and Ronan O'Neill, but Cavan restored their three-point advantage in the ninth minute when Jack Brady swung over a point to add to Barry Reilly's converted free. O'Neill stroked over a free, and skipper Peter Harte added a point to narrow the gap to one.
Cavan recovered from a difficult spell to finish the half with three points, two of them booming efforts from skipper McKiernan, to go in at the break with a 1-5 to 0-4 advantage. And they made it a four-point game once again when Barry Reilly and Brady both knocked over frees.
With seven minutes left, they still led by four points, and Tyrone had to work extremely hard for the points that O'Neill and Richard Donnelly scored to narrow the gap to two.
But Cavan held on for their first title since 1996, going close to a second goal when Murray brought an excellent save from Niall Morgan deep into stoppage-time.
Scorers -- Cavan: N Murray 1-0, J Brady 0-4 (2f), G McKiernan, B Reilly (2f), P King 0-2 each. Tyrone: R O'Neill 0-4 (2f), N McKenna 0-2, R Donnelly, P Harte, M Donnelly, C Girvan 0-1 each.
Cavan -- A O'Mara; F Flanagan, O Minagh, D Tighe; K Meehan, D Barkey, M Brady; G McKiernan, M Leddy; N Smith, N Murray, B Reilly; J Brady, N McDermott, P Leddy. Subs: T Mooney for Tighe (36), P King for M Leddy (47), C McClarey for Smith (52), S Smith for McDermott (55), D Flanagan for Reilly (60).
Tyrone -- N Morgan; R Pickering, R McNamee, F McQuaid; N Sludden, R McNabb, T McCann; N McKenna, R Donnelly; P McNeice, P Harte, S McGuigan; K Coney, M Donnelly, R O'Neill. Subs: C Girvan for McGuigan (34), K Mossey for McNabb (49), D McNulty for McNeice (55), J McCullagh for McNulty (59).
Ref -- S McLaughlin (Donegal).