Sport GAA

Friday 23 August 2019

Sorry Cavan swept aside by intensity of resurgent Tyrone

Tyrone 1-20 Cavan 0-7

Ben McDonnell of Tyrone shoots to score his side's only goal during yesterday's match against Cavan in Clones. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Ben McDonnell of Tyrone shoots to score his side's only goal during yesterday's match against Cavan in Clones. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Orla Bannon

Tyrone bared their teeth and powered their way into the Super 8s with a ruthless slaying of Cavan.

Since their shocking display against Donegal in the Ulster semi-final, the Red Hands have done what they always do - built momentum in the back door until they hit Croke Park and the last eight again.

Tyrone's Ben McDonnell wins possession over Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan on his way to scoring his side's first goal. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Tyrone's Ben McDonnell wins possession over Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan on his way to scoring his side's first goal. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

In front of 11,258, Tyrone controlled the pace of the game against Cavan, who struggled to stay with the Reds' runners or live with their intensity.

They were a beaten side by half time, when they trailed by nine points, and the second half was awful viewing with Tyrone simply doing as they wanted.

The Reds had nine different scorers but finished with 14 players as they'd used all six subs by the time Peter Harte picked up a black card late on.

Harte looked dismayed and could now be in line for a suspension, which would rule him out of the Saturday's Super 8s' clash away to Roscommon.

Tyrone's Darren McCurry and Cavan's Barry Fortune are both issued with yellow cards by Referee Barry Cassidy. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Tyrone's Darren McCurry and Cavan's Barry Fortune are both issued with yellow cards by Referee Barry Cassidy. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

This was the draw Cavan didn't want as they tried to nurse their post-Ulster final hangover. In trying to get over the blow of a poor display and defeat by Donegal, the last thing they needed was to draw the only other Ulster team in the pot - but that's exactly what they got and they weren't up for the fight.

The fact that Dara McVeety, who had been their best player all summer, didn't score until the 69th minute sums up how uncompetitive they were.

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Cavan matched Tyrone's intensity only for the early exchanges and Niall Murray's opening free in the third minute was the only time they led in the game.

From two points apiece after 12 minutes, Tyrone completely took over scoring the next seven points in a row in a devastating 14-minute spell.

Tyrone have had a mixed summer so far with some unconvincing wins over Derry, Antrim and Longford as well as a shocking Ulster semi-final loss to Donegal. Last week's qualifier win over Kildare in Newbridge was their most impressive win of the campaign and with so much debate over their systems and methods of attack, this was a performance Mickey Harte will bank in the credit account.

They brought the intensity and tenacious tackling in defence was causing Cavan to rush things and make poor decisions. Niall Sludden has struggled for a long time now in the white and red but he scored a superb point from a tight angle and punched the air in delight.

Raymond Galligan made a superb low save at his near post from Kennedy but Morgan nailed the '45 and with so much room and no-one putting the Tyrone shooters under any pressure, Cavanagh sauntered up from his sweeping role with a sweet strike.

Cavan were rash in the tackle and Cathal McShane and Peter Harte took advantage with Darren McCurry scoring a dazzling three points in-a-row in three minutes. He took the first off his left foot, his second off the right and the third, the pick of the bunch, with his left again, leaning back and wrapping his foot around the leather to make it 0-9 to 0-2.

Cavan made two first-half changes and one of the subs, Conor Madden, stopped the rot with the Breffni boys' only score from play in the opening period. Tyrone still led 0-12 to 0-3 at the break. Cavan brought few ideas of how to penetrate Tyrone, who didn't need to do anything special or commit too many bodies forward to sink Cavan.

Breffni boss Mickey Graham had seen enough at the break and brought on Caoimhin O'Reilly and Stephen Murray - the latter very unlucky not to start after good cameo displays off the bench.

The body language from the Cavan players wouldn't exactly have given their fans much hope of a big second-half comeback. They trudged out, already knowing the game was lost, and while Gerard Smith scored the first point after the break, Sludden continued his fight to regain his top form with a second point.

In a further blow, Cavan lost one of their big leaders Killian Clarke to a black card for tripping Mattie Donnelly.

Cathal McShane was starting to enjoy himself and followed up three first-half frees with two quickfire points from play midway through the second half. Cavan brought on Thomas Galligan and stationed him on the edge of the square but failed to launch any long ball in his direction.

Cavanagh was back there to convince them not to kick the ball long, but their running game just wasn't working.

Mickey Harte was able to run his bench from early on and made all six changes long before the end. Thinking about the Super 8s and a trip to Roscommon next Saturday, Harte ran his bench with Sludden, Cassidy, McCurry and McShane among those called ashore early out of the baking hot sun at Clones.

The likes of Kyle Coney, Padraig Hampsey and Richie Donnelly were among the players given some valuable game time and a chance to impress.

The Cavan fans were long gone before the end and a ragged game rounded off by a scrappy Tyrone goal by Ben McDonnell after 62 minutes.

Scorers - Tyrone: C McShane 0-5 (3f), P Harte 0-5 (4f), B McDonnell 1-0, D McCurry 0-3, N Morgan 0-2f, N Sludden 0-2, C Cavanagh, B Kennedy, C McCann 0-1 each. Cavan: N Murray 0-2f, G McKiernan 0-2f, C Madden, G Smith, D McVeety 0-1 each.

Tyrone: N Morgan; HP McGeary, R McNamee, R Brennan; M Cassidy, K McGeary, F Burns; C Cavanagh, B Kennedy; M Donnelly, N Sludden, P Harte; D McCurry, C McShane, C Meyler. Subs: K Coney for McCurry (46), P Hampsey for HP McGeary (49), M McKernan for Cassidy (50), B McDonnell for K McGeary (55), C McCann for Sludden (57), R Donnelly for McShane (61)

Cavan: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Brady; C Moynagh, B Fortune, K Clarke; C Brady, G McKiernan; G Smith, M Reilly, N Murray, C Rehill, D McVeety, C Mackey. Subs: C Madden for Rehill (23), O Kiernan for McLoughlin (32), C O'Reilly for Brady and S Murray for Reilly (both half-time), T Galligan for Clarke (48 black card), K Brady for Faulkner (55).

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)

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