Tyrone boost double bid
Tyrone remain on course to complete a league and Championship double at minor level in Ulster following a hard-earned 1-14 to 1-0 victory over Down at Pairc Esler, Newry yesterday.
But while manager Collie Holmes can certainly derive satisfaction from his team's win, he is nonetheless preaching caution.
"The defeat to Monaghan in our last game was a wake-up call and while we move forward now we will be taking nothing for granted," insisted former senior All-Ireland winner Holmes.
In the first half yesterday, Down looked the more assured and by half-time they led 0-8 to 0-6 although they had reason to be thankful to goalkeeper Aodhan Furlong in particular following three stunning saves.
Mark Devlin landed four of Tyrone's points from frees and it was his team's inability to convert their chances from play that proved their undoing in the build-up to half-time.
And when John McGovern blasted home Down's goal in the 40th minute, it looked as if the Mourne side were about to glide down the home straight.
But Tyrone rallied strongly with Devlin firing in their goal in the 50th minute and Daniel Fullerton, Shea Browne, Luke Donnelly and the ubiquitous Devlin potting points.
They maintained their dominance in the closing stages despite losing Niall Devlin to a second yellow card while Shea Daly incurred a black card and Down's Adam Crimmins was also the recipient of a red card.
Donegal, too, have progressed to the closing stages following last night's win over Cavan at Kingspan Breffni by 1-18 to 2-7.
Donegal had gone into the game having lost to Tyrone but regained their scoring touch in style even though there were occasions in which their opponents held the upper hand.
But Cavan's cause was not helped when Peter Smith was shown a red card which left the side facing a heavy burden.
Goals from Sean McEvoy and Cian Farrelly boosted Cavan's spirit but when Shane Monaghan landed his third goal of the Championship the scales were firmly tilted in Donegal's favour.
And once more it was Jonathan McGroddy who proved an inspirational force in their side.
His finishing has been top drawer and this was the case yet again as he proved an elusive prey for the Cavan defence.
McGroddy's haul of points from frees and play contributed hugely to Donegal's win and cemented their title belief.