Harte calls for more as Cavanagh saves the day
Tyrone 0-14 Monaghan 0-10
Definitely not for the first time, and probably not the last, the leadership skills of Sean Cavanagh got Tyrone over the line to keep the momentum with them in the top flight.
The stakes were not as high in Healy Park on Saturday night as last year's Ulster final when Cavanagh's stunning late point was the catalyst for victory over Donegal, but nonetheless the 34-year-old captain was again responsible for steadying the ship with Tyrone wobbling.
Having led by 0-9 to 0-2 at half-time after dominating a flat and wasteful Monaghan side, their prospects improved further when the visitors had Fintan Kelly (two yellows) and Dermot Malone (straight red) sent off within six minutes of the restart.
Yet 13-man Monaghan reacted better to the setback, with Kieran Hughes and Jack McCarron influential up front, as they closed the gap to 0-10 to 0-7 after 56 minutes.
Mickey Harte had seen enough, introducing Cavanagh, who demanded to take a vital long-range free and then hit two further scores as Tyrone moved into a strong position in Division 1.
Both managers agreed that the first half was where the game was won and lost.
"The way we started the game was critical to the end result," said Tyrone boss Harte. "If we played in the first half like we did in the second, we wouldn't have got two points.
"With the superior numbers, we should have been getting more scores than we did, regardless of the numbers they had back."
Darren Hughes was ruled out with concussion and Monaghan missed his drive. Maybe the exertions of the winning trip to Killarney six days earlier were also a factor in their poor start, but both sides were wasteful, kicking seven wides in the first half, with Peter Harte hitting a penalty wide after 11 minutes.
Tyrone had six players scoring from play before the break, the side playing with a lot of purpose, although they missed a number of goal chances, with Darren McCurry and Mattie Donnelly both hitting the woodwork.
Malone's dismissal for minimal contact looked harsh on first viewing but from that stage, Monaghan rallied scoring five of the next six points.
They flooded players back and hit Tyrone on the break, picking off handy scores, with a sideline from McCarron the best score of the night.
Tyrone were unsure how best to penetrate a 13-man side and needed keeper Mickey O'Neill to save them from Dessie Ward's goal-bound shot. That was until Cavanagh came on to lead the way.
Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke said: "We pegged Tyrone back well but we gave them too much of a start.
"Tyrone probably took their foot off the pedal but we can take positives from battling back."
SCORERS - Tyrone: P Harte 0-4 (2fs), S Cavanagh 0-3 (2fs), D McCurry, T McCann 0-2 each, J McMahon, F Burns, C Meyler 0-1 each. Monaghan: J McCarron 0-4 (2fs), C McManus 0-2 (1f, 1 '45'), R Beggan (2fs), K Hughes 0-2 each.
Tyrone - M O'Neill 7; P Hampsey 6, R McNamee 7, C McCarron 6; T McCann 7, J McMahon 7, F Burns 6; C Cavanagh 6, D McClure 6; C Meyler 7, K McGeary 6, P Harte 7; D McCurry 7, M Donnelly 6, R O'Neill 6. Subs: C McShane 6 for Burns (46), S Cavanagh 8 (0-3, 2f) for McClure (51), R Brennan 6 for McMahon (56), C McCann 6 for R O'Neill (58), A McCrory 6 for McCarron (60).
Monaghan - R Beggan 7; F Kelly 6, D Wylie 7, R Wylie 6; K Duffy 6, N McAdam 6, R McAnespie 6; O Coyle 6, K Hughes 7; T Kerr 6, D Malone 5, G Doogan 7; K O'Connell 6, J McCarron 8, C McManus 7. Subs: C McCarthy 6 for Kerr (HT), D Ward 6 for Duffy (HT), S Gollogly 6 for Doogan (63), J Mealiff 6 for McAnespie (63).
Ref- P Hughes (Armagh)