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Red Hands pay price for lack of quality edge

CAVAN 1-11 - TYRONE 0-6

By Declan Bogue

So, Cavan keep finding different ways of winning. This was an organised Tyrone team that were obviously playing to a pre-ordained script, but they were sorely lacking in attacking imagination and once the Cavan side smelt blood, they were absolutely ruthless.

Two massed defences made for grim viewing, but the Cavan team adapted to the prevailing conditions much better.

It was no surprise that the teams went in level at half-time, even though Cavan had to play into the teeth of a stiff wind. Despite their advantage, Tyrone chose to play with Michael McCann as sweeper, with full-back Rory Brennan playing in a more advanced role, only occasionally picking up Paul Graham.

Tyrone's cause was not helped by three wides from Darren McCurry in the opening period, two of them from the dead ball.

With the first half drawing to a close, both teams indulged in a little machismo, two separate wrestling matches breaking out on the field.

Referee Shaun McLaughlin struggled to stamp any authority on the game and while he consulted with his linesmen, the delay went on so long that both teams went into a huddle mid-match. Most unusual.

While Cavan kicked all but two of their restarts short to waiting defenders and patiently played around Tyrone's blanket defence with the bulk of possession, 20 minutes separated Tyrone's second and third points.

Points from Michael Argue, Dara McVeety and a free from Kevin Bouchier was enough to gain parity in time for the break.

In the third quarter Cavan racked up four wides, two from Graham, one from Bouchier and another from Ciaran Brady yet they never looked like regretting it as Tyrone's inter-play was so muddled and scrappy.

Instead, three beautiful Argue points underlined their supremacy and straight after his fourth of the evening, a botched kickout from Tyrone goalkeeper Mark McReynolds landed in he arms of Enda Flanagan, who dashed clear and dished off to Joe Dillon at the right time to lash to the net and put five points between the teams.

The game was delayed on the next kickout with a bad looking injury to Tyrone half-back Kieran McGeary but when play resumed Conor Moynagh and Dara McVeety instantly slotted points over to kill off the Red Hands challenge.

Substitute Conor Madden piled on further pain for Tyrone with two late points.

CAVAN: J Farrelly; B Fortune, K Clarke, P Faulkner; G Smith, C Moynagh (Capt) 0-1, C Brady; B Sankey, M Argue 0-4; P Graham, E Flanagan, A Watson; D McVeety 0-2, K Bouchier 0-2, 2f, 1f, J Dillon 1-0

Subs: J McCabe for Faulkner (30+2, blood sub), T Hayes for Dillon (48m), C Madden 0-2, for Graham (55m), for C Byrne for Flanagan (59m), L Buchanan for Sankey (60+1m), E Hession for McVeety (60+3m), J McCabe for Brady (60+7m)

TYRONE: M McReynolds; B Burns (Capt), R Brennan, C McLaughlin; M McCann, J Monroe, K McGeary; D McClure 0-1, C McCann; C McKenna, M Cassidy, F Burns 0-1; D McCurry 0-1, D McNulty 0-1, 1f, M Bradley 0-2

Subs: C Meyler for Burns (38, black card), T McCarron for Brennan (47m), J Loughran for McGeary (53m)

Referee: Shaun McLaughlin (Donegal)

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