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Cavanagh and O'Neill give Tyrone upper hand

Tyrone got their stuttering campaign off the ground as substitute Stephen O'Neill and Sean Cavanagh inspired Mickey Harte's charges to a deserved six-point win over Sligo at Markievicz Park.

A fortunate first-half goal from Enda McGinley helped Tyrone, who had lost their previous two games, take the sting out of Conor Gormley's first-half dismissal as the home side were themselves reduced to 14 players when Mark Breheny was sent off.

The half-time introduction of O'Neill, who replaced Owen Mulligan, added zip to Tyrone's attack.

Tyrone increased their lead to six points, 1-8 to 0-5, thanks to fine efforts from O'Neill and the increasingly influential Cavanagh, but Sligo replied with four unanswered points, which included superb long-range scores from Alan Costello and Francis Quinn.

But Sligo were still unable to get any closer as Tyrone were capable of firing off scores at will and when Cavanagh goaled nine minutes from time, Tyrone were en route to victory.

Sligo still worked hard in the closing stages and scored late consolation points from Adrian Marren and Sean Davey.


Wind-assisted Tyrone were the more clinical during the first half as Enda McGinley's 10th-minute goal, following an error by the Sligo goalkeeper Philip Greene gave them an advantage.

Sligo responded to this initial setback with some fine points, most notably Breheny's 13th-minute effort from play, and matters appeared to have swung in the home side's favour when Tyrone suffered a double blow after 19 minutes.

Firstly, influential centre-back Gormley picked up a second yellow card and, in a separate incident, corner-forward McGinley was forced off with an injury.

Sligo, who brought the margin back to a point, then suffered misfortune of their own when, after watching Tyrone glide three points clear, 1-5 to 0-5, Breheny saw red.

A challenge on Brian McGuigan that referee Joe Quillan deemed illegal meant a second yellow card for Breheny, who had been previously booked in the incident that saw Gormley dismissed.

Tyrone, with Mulligan a menace in a floating playmaker role, ended the first half with a flourish when substitute Niall McKenna completed a counter-attack with a point that saw the visitors lead by four points at the break, 1-6 to 0-5.

Man of the Match: Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone)

Scorers -- Tyrone: S Cavanagh 1-5 (3f), M Penrose 0-4 (2f), S O'Neill 0-3, E McGinley 1-0, B McGuigan, O Mulligan, N McKenna 0-1 each Sligo: A Marren 0-7 (4f), M Breheny (1f), S Davey, F Quinn 0-2 each, A Costello, S Coen 0-1 each .

Sligo -- P Greene 7; C Harrison 6, B Kennedy 5, R Donovan 5; K Cawley 5, B Egan 5, P McGovern 5; T Taylor 5, S Davey 6; A Costello 5, E O'Hara 5, M Breheny 5; A Marren 7, F Quinn 6, S Coen (5) Subs: N Ewing 4 for S Davey (47, blood sub), B Curran 4 for K Cawley (50), N Ewing for B Egan (63), D Maye 4 for S Coen (67), P Hughes 4 for A Costello 67.

Tyrone -- J Curran 6; A McCrory 7, D McCaul 7, PJ Quinn 6; D Harte 7, C Gormley 5, R McMenamin 6; K Hughes 7, C Cavanagh 7; P Harte 6, B McGuigan 7, S Cavanagh 9; M Penrose 7, O Mulligan 6, E McGinley 6 Subs: N McKenna 6 for E McGinley (19), S O'Neill 8 for O Mulligan (h-t), A Cassidy 5 for C Cavanagh (53), M Swift 4 for P Harte (65).

Ref -- J McQuillan (Cavan).

Irish Independent