Harte happy to vary tactics as McShane double seals victory
Tyrone 2-15 Longford 1-14
Never was a four-point win so easily secured.
Tyrone were way, way better than Longford in this second round of the All-Ireland qualifiers at Pearse Park on Saturday night.
But should we be surprised? This was a team that played in last year's All-Ireland final against a side that never threatened to get out of Division 3 of the league this year.
Worse again for Longford, four of the best footballers in the county weren't playing in this game, for a variety of reasons.
With a small pick, which is all the midlanders have, you cannot carry losses like that if you are going to take down one of the giants.
And Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was determined his team were not going to be caught in an act of midland giant-killing.
"We came here very focused and very prepared," Harte said after the match. "Over the years Longford have beaten very good teams here and pushed other good teams all the way, we did not want to be added to the list.
"The two first-half goals we got allowed us to play the game on our terms, we could keep Longford at arm's length then," he added.
"We're going to have to have a look at the closing stages of the match when they scored 1-3, that's not good enough," Harte added ominously for the Tyrone defenders when they do their video review.
The early goals were indeed crucial to the whole tone of the contest.
Full-forward Cathal McShane got both of them as Longford could not cope with his physical presence.
Tyrone first raised a green flag in the ninth minute when Longford goalkeeper Paddy Collum tried a short kick-out.
The penalty for getting it wrong is huge and so it proved when Collum steered the ball straight to Tyrone's Niall Sludden.
He centred the ball quickly to McShane, who stuck it in the net at the second attempt.
Things got even better for Harte's side with the second goal.
You can talk about tactics and systems and styles and then you can go old school, and bomb the ball at a big full-forward.
That's what wing-back Michael Cassidy did and McShane fisted to the net.
"We needed a goal like that, not to give one away," bemoaned Longford leader Padraic Davis.
"A goal like that for us would have changed the tone of the whole game. We're not in this for moral victories, for holding Tyrone to four points.
"We genuinely came here today believing we could take down Tyrone. We just didn't help ourselves."
Longford learned on Saturday that to prise open this Tyrone defensive web a class forward such as Michael Murphy or Paul Mannion comes in handy. And they simply did not have anyone of that calibre to call on.
Harte admitted that his team mixed up their tactics at times, with fluent attacking changing, minutes later, to all 15 men behind the ball.
"That's what Gaelic football demands now, you simply don't play every game the same way, or even a portion of every game the same way. You adapt to what is in front of you," he commented.
Tyrone's Peter Harte would finish the day with nine points in a fine effort that showed how much he was missed following that black card against Donegal.
He got another on Saturday night and a third, later in the Championship, would bring a one-man ban his way.
If there is an issue for the Tyrone boss to work on before next weekend it is that Harte and McShane scored so much of their final total, all but four points of it in fact.
scorers - Tyrone: C McShane 2-2; P Harte 0-9 (7f); B McDonnell 0-2; HP McGeary, M Cassidy 0-1 each. Longford: D McGivney 0-4 (4f); CP Smyth 0-3; I O'Sullivan 1-0; B McKeon (1f), M Quinn 0-2 each; D Mimnagh, J Hagan, S Kenny 0-1 each
LONGFORD - P Collum 5; P Fox 6, D McElligott 8, B O'Farrell 6; CP Smyth 8, P McCormack 7, D Quinn 6; J Keegan 6, D McGivney 6; G Rogers 5, B McKeon 7, M Quinn 8; D Mimnagh 7, J McGivney 6, J Hagan 6 Subs: A McElligott for Rogers 43mins, D Doherty for B O'Farrell 55mins, A Farrell for Keegan 57mins, M Hughes for J McGivney and S Kenny for Mimnagh 62mins, I O'Sullivan for Hagen 68mins
TYRONE - N Morgan 8; HP McGeary 7, R McNamee 6, M McKernan 6; M Cassidy 7, K McGeary 6, F Burns 8; C Cavanagh 7, B Kennedy 6; M Donnelly 7, N Sludden 7, P Harte 8; D McCurry 6, C McShane 8, D McClure 6. Subs: C Meyler for K McGeary and B. McDonnell for Kennedy both ht, R Brennan for McKernan 43mins, K Coney for McClure and C McAliskey for McCurry both 56mins, C McCann for Sludden 65mins.
REF - D O'Mahoney (Tipperary).