Cathal McShane strikes put Tyrone on early path to victory, says Harte
Longford 1-14 Tyrone 2-15
This was viewed as a potential banana skin for Tyrone but two goals in the opening quarter put paid to any notion of an upset as they negotiated the challenge of Longford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday evening.
Full forward Cathal McShane was the man who got both goals and while they weren't necessarily things of beauty, they raised green flags and that was all that mattered.
That helped the Red Hands to establish a 2-7 to 0-5 interval lead and after that it was only a matter of keeping their opponents at arm's length. Nine points from the boot of Peter Harte helped them do exactly that before he picked up a black card for the second game in a row in the 67th minute.
Longford did rally in injury time which yielded them 1-3 without reply, but Tyrone were already looking forward to round three of the qualifiers and manager Mickey Harte pointed to those two McShane goals as being vital to the result.
"Those two goals gave us a cushion and as the game progressed, it was obvious that we needed it," admitted Harte.
"I suppose they weren't pretty goals by any stretch of the imagination, but three points is good any way, whether it breaks the net or just gets over the line, it doesn't matter how.
"We needed them, we needed them to keep them at arm's length. They have had many good days here against teams from higher divisions, and they would have fancied another one. So yes, we needed those goals, and it probably gave us the impetus to go on and win the game."
Tyrone now find themselves two games away from the Super 8s as they once again go down the qualifier route, a path that has served them well over the years - including last season when they reached the All-Ireland final.
"We have experience of it, we never set out to go on these journeys, but it happens that we have been there a number of times. Mostly we have made good of it to a certain extent, as good as possible, and maybe we can make something good of this too," said Harte.
Despite defeat, Longford manager Padraic Davis was naturally proud of his men and the way that they played until the final whistle.
"I think we have to be proud," said Davis.
"We found ourselves in a situation where Tyrone got the two goals we needed to get. You're in Division One company, they had that cushion all along and it made life very difficult for us.
"The two goals we conceded were soft and we simply couldn't afford to do that. It's an unfortunate situation, we've got ourselves in a position whereby it's very difficult for us to control the tempo of the game.
"It's difficult enough when you're playing a team that's two divisions ahead of you to do so, you'd like to think that gap is bridged by being at home, but when we conceded those two goals, they played it on their terms for a large part of the game.
"We played until the end, we asked them at half-time to play to the end and they have done that.
"Some of them have come off the field exhausted and you can't ask for a whole lot after that."
Longford: P Collum, P Fox, D McElligott, B O'Farrell, C Smyth (0-3), P McCormack, D Quinn, J Keegan, D McGivney (0-4, 4F), G Rogers, B McKeon (0-2, 1f), M Quinn (0-2), D Mimnagh (0-1), J McGivney, J Hagan (0-1). Subs: A McElligott for Rogers, D Doherty for O'Farrell, A Farrell for Keegan, M Hughes for J McGivney, S Kenny (0-1) for Mimnagh, I O'Sullivan (1-0) for Hagan
Tyrone: N Morgan, HP McGeary (0-1), R McNamee, M McKernan, M Cassidy (0-1), K McGeary, F Burns, C Cavanagh, B Kennedy, M Donnelly, N Sludden, P Harte (0-9, 7F), D McCurry, C McShane (2-2), D McClure. Subs: B McDonnell (0-2) for Kennedy, C Meyler for K McGeary, R Brennan for McKernan, K Coney for McClure, C McAliskey for McCurry, C McCann for Sludden
Referee: D O'Mahoney, Tipperary