McGleenan rues Cavan collapse as Tyrone go top
Tyrone 0-19 Cavan 1-9
Afterwards, Mattie McGleenan was left searching for answers.
His Cavan side had just produced what he branded their "best 35 minutes of the season" in the first half in Omagh's Healy Park. On the restart, they delivered what must have been their worst.
Four points up at half-time, Cavan, playing with the wind, had been impressive in the opening period. In fact, they could have been further ahead had they not coughed up so many frees in front of their own posts. Five of the seven points Tyrone managed in the first half came from placed balls and they went in four down.
What followed on the restart was effectively one-way traffic as the home side, rejuvenated by the introduction of Mark Bradley, outscored Cavan by 12 points to one. Even allowing for the breeze that Tyrone played with in the second half, it was a lamentable collapse.
"That was the best 35 minutes we have played this year," said McGleenan, who was without Seanie Johnston through injury. "We hit 10 scores today but while I was delighted with the first half but at this level you have to string two halves together. You can't concede 19 scores at this level.
"Tyrone pressed us and the first three or four scores after half-time were our mistakes. They punished us and that was the difference between the two teams. Tyrone pressurised us and our decision-making cost us but Tyrone were excellent in the second half. It is just very disappointing."
Their second-half performance leaves them on the cusp of relegation. There are still three rounds to play but Cavan are already three points from safety and their next two games sees them travel to Mayo before welcoming Kerry to Kingspan Breffni Park. By the time they play fellow strugglers Roscommon in the final round, their fate might already be sealed.
"At this point I am not even worried about relegation, it is just about improving the performance. For 35 minutes we played great and then we capitulated in the second half and that is something we have to address."
Cavan started well, landing the first two points of the day but after a spiky opening, that saw referee David Gough dish out three yellow cards in the opening ten minutes, Tyrone would grow into the game.
Still, it was Cavan who delivered most of the inspiration. Martin Reilly kicked three excellent points while Gearóid McKiernan was also in good form. And it was McKiernan who would grab the game's only goal just before half-time. Dara McVeety and Conor Madden combined to put McKiernan in and he cleverly flicked over Niall Morgan's head to give the visitors a 1-8 to 0-7 lead at the break.
But Tyrone would be a different team on the restart and their win saw them move top of the table. "I am very happy to be top of the league, that's the truth of the matter," Harte reflected. "What more do you want? Four games and we are top of the league, you would take that at the start of the season any day."
The only negative for Tyrone was that they failed to register a goal, meaning they have hit the net just once in four league games.
They created just one clear sight on Raymond Galligan's posts but Seán Cavanagh's effort was easily dealt with. But Harte insisted he was happy with his side's scoring return.
"Goals will come. What did we get, 19 points? I don't think that is a bad return. We can't have everything. I think any day you get 19 scores it will take a serious team to beat you."
Scorers - Tyrone: P Harte 0-4 (4f), M Bradley, S Cavanagh (3f) 0-3 each, R O'Neill 0-2, T McCann, C Cavanagh, P McNulty, D McCurry, M Donnelly, K McGeary, N Morgan (1f) 0-1 each.
Cavan: G McKiernan 1-4 (2f), M Reilly 0-3, D McVeety, C Madden 0-1 each.
Tyrone - N Morgan 8; P Hampsey 6, A McCrory 7, C McCarron 6; T McCann 7, Justin McMahon 6, R Brennan 6; C Cavanagh 6, P McNulty 6; C Meyler 6, K McGeary 6, P Harte 7; D McCurry, S Cavanagh 7, M Donnelly 7. Subs: R McNamee 7 for Brennan (h-t), M Bradley 8 for McNulty (45), J Munroe 7 for McNamee (BC 46), F Burns 6 for McMahon (51), R O'Neill 8 for McCurry (BC 54), C McCann for McGeary (66),
Cavan - R Galligan 6; R Dunne 6, K Brady 6, J McLoughlin 6; C Brady 6, C Moynagh 6, M Reilly 8; T Corr 6, G McKiernan 8; G Smith 6, D McVeety 7, N Clerkin 6; N Murray 6, C Madden 6, P O'Connor 6. Subs: C Mackey 6 for Brady, S Murray 6 for N Murray (both h-t), F Reilly 6 for McLoughlin (50), J McCutcheon 6 for Corr (56), N McKiernan for O'Connor (64)
Ref - D Gough (Meath)