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Cathal McShane set to complete Australia switch, says Harte after loss

Monaghan 1-12 Tyrone 0-11

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Forward thinking: Mark Bradley plots a way past the Monaghan defence

Forward thinking: Mark Bradley plots a way past the Monaghan defence

�INPHO/John McVitty

Forward thinking: Mark Bradley plots a way past the Monaghan defence

With one loss after the opening two rounds of the Allianz League, it would be madness to say that Tyrone are in a spot of bother.

But there was so much in this bad loss to Monaghan that will worry the Red Hands faithful.

There may have been just four points in it at the end but Monaghan's purpose and structure left the Tyrone challenge looking rather insipid and disjointed.

It's clear that Mickey Harte's men are missing the presence of Cathal McShane in the full-forward line. The top scorer in last year's Championship appears to be inching ever closer to a move to Australian Rules Football, as Harte explained afterwards.

Last week, Harte told reporters that he wasn't even aware that McShane was back in the northern hemisphere after he turned up to watch their victory over Meath.

McShane attended a club team meeting on Tuesday night and suggested he might be on his way, though nothing is in stone yet.

"I always said I wouldn't give up hope until I was sure that he had signed an alternative arrangement," said Harte.

"I'm not sure that that has happened yet, but I know that it's on the agenda."

Monaghan grabbed the opening two points, the first from a turnover when Dermot Malone drilled over and soon after Conor McManus pointed a mark he took after doubling back on a run to create space.

While both teams retreated into their defensive lines when without possession, with Monaghan's Darren Hughes mirroring Colm Cavanagh as sweeper, the Oriels appeared to have the greater urgency with the ball.

Tyrone survived on low-percentage shots such as a stupendous effort from Kieran McGeary, a high looping shot that Kyle Coney made and home goalkeeper Rory Beggan just could not reach and a Frank Burns effort from distance that appeared very, very close to the top of the post.

With the sides going in with Monaghan just a point ahead at 0-7 to 0-6 despite playing into the wind, Tyrone tried something different from the start of the second period with Cavanagh ambling into the full-forward position with Conor Boyle picking him up.

Their hopes took a huge blow when a through ball from Mark Bradley was cut out by Dermot Malone and following a brilliant run from Conor Boyle, Karl O'Connell was put through for a soccer-style finish past Niall Morgan into the net to put Monaghan four up after 45 minutes.

From then on, they coasted home to victory, Kieran Hughes and Mark Bradley getting straight red cards for their involvement in a late fracas with the game long settled by then.

Last week, Monaghan contributed richly to a bit of a throwback in style against Galway; here it was pragmatic football all the way with the end result the most important thing.

Tyrone have issues. They also have a lengthy injury list and require a lot of their front of house men back pronto. Things are unlikely to improve in the short-term with Kerry rolling into Omagh on Sunday.

MONAGHAN: R Beggan; K Duffy, C Boyle 0-1, R Wylie; K O'Connell 1-0, D Ward 0-1, M Bannigan; D Hughes, N Kearns 0-1; R McAnespie, C McCarthy 0-4, D Malone; J McCarron 0-1, 1f, K Hughes 0-1, C McManus 0-2, 1m

Subs: A Mulligan 0-1, for McCarron (49m), C McGuinness for Bannigan (56m), S Carey for McManus (70m), D Wylie for McCarthy (74m), P Keenan for O'Connell (75m).

TYRONE: N Morgan 0-1, 1x'45'; HP McGeary, R McNamee, L Rafferty; P Harte, R Brennan, C Meyler; C Cavanagh, F Burns 0-2; K McGeary 0-1, N Sludden 0-1, D McCurry 0-3f; M Bradley, K Coney 0-1, R O'Neill.

Subs: C Kilpatrick for O'Neill (HT), N Kelly 0-1, for McNamee (40m, Blood Sub), DD Mulgrew 0-1, for Cavanagh, T McCann for Harte (both 54m), M Cassidy for Coney (60m), B McDonnell for Burns (64m).

Referee: David Gough (Meath)

Attendance: 7,500.

Belfast Telegraph