Tyrone power home in big finish
Tyrone 2-12 Louth 0-10: From a Tyrone point of view this was the proverbial game of two halves at Healy Park on Saturday afternoon as, in the end, they secured an emphatic victory over Louth in the All Ireland qualifiers.
Tyrone supporters would have been living on their nerve ends at half-time as they had only a two- point advantage against the Leinster men but they needn't have worried as the second half proved to be a procession with Emmett McKenna's goal after 15 seconds being followed minutes later by one from Stephen O'Neill to end the game as a contest.
Those two strikes knocked the heart out of the visitors and after that it was only a matter of what the winning score would be on a day when Sean Cavanagh, Darren McCurry and Connor McAliskey amassed 15 points between them with keeper Niall Morgan also weighing in with four.
Tyrone took the chance to get back to winning ways after their disappointing Ulster championship defeat at the hands of Monaghan by racking up a big tally in this victory and, while much tougher tests lie ahead, there were plenty of positives, not least Joe McMahon first taste of action, from the bench, this season.
The home side began in a confident fashion and they established a 0-3 to 0-0 advantage by the fifth minute thanks to two points from McCurry and Cavanagh. Moments later though Louth were almost level when half back Adrian Reid flashed a shot just past the right hand post.
A superb pass from O'Neill put McKenna through but he kicked a poor wide and moments later Ciaran McGinley was off target as well with only keeper Neil Gallagher to beat. Either side of those misses Louth had registered a point via exciting teenager Ryan Burns as they began to come into the game.
With Colm Cavanagh getting through a mountain of work in midfield Tyrone were still the dominant force and a McAliskey brace from play coupled with a McCurry free left them 0-7 to 0-2 to the good. They then switched off though to allow Louth to hit back with scores from Brian White, Conor Grimes and Andy McDonnell and while Cavanagh responded with two frees it was the visitors who had the final say of the half through a well struck White placed ball to leave it 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time.
The home side had the wind at their backs for the second period and they got off to the best possible start with those two early goals. Morgan then landed three placed kicks including a '45' with Cavanagh also knocking over a free before McGinley drove over from play.
Burns opened Louth's second half account with a well struck free but their opponents had a vice-like grip on proceedings at this stage and there was no way back. McKenna and McCurry added points and they should have had another goal 10 minutes from time but Shay McGuigan hit the bar.
Another long range Morgan free was followed by McAliskey's fourth of the day from play, Late points from Colm Judge and Grimes for Louth were academic.
Tyrone: N Morgan [0-4, 3f, 1 "45], A McCrory, R McNamee, PJ Quinn, R McNabb, Mattie Donnelly, P Harte, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh [0-5, 4f], E McKenna [1-1], S McGuigan, C McGinley [0-1], D McCurry [0-6, 3f], S O'Neill [1-0], C McAliskey [0-4]. Subs: P Kane for O'Neill, Joe McMahon for C Cavanagh, N McKenna for S Cavanagh, R McKenna for Quinn, Justin McMahon for Donnelly, M Penrose for McCurry
Louth: N Gallagher, P Rath, D Finnegan, J Bingham, J O'Brien, D Crilly, A Reid, P Keenan, M Fanning, A McDonnell [0-2], B White [0-2, 2f], D Maguire, C Judge [0-1], S Lennon, R Burns [0-3, 1f]. Subs: C Grimes [0-2] for Lennon, D O'Hanlon for Rath [black card], E Lafferty for Crilly, C Rafferty for White, K McLaughlin for McDonnell, J Stewart for O'Brien [black card]
Referee: M Duffy, Sligo