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Harte on fire as Tyrone seal semi spot by crushing Cavan

Cavan 0-07 Tyrone 2-22

Cavan's Darragh Kennedy with Lee Brennan of Tyrone
Cavan's Darragh Kennedy with Lee Brennan of Tyrone

By Kevin Kelly

Holders Tyrone breezed into another McKenna Cup semi-final with a straightforward victory over Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park last night.

The holders will now play Fermanagh in the last four on Sunday after a game where they completely dominated throughout and were well on their way to victory by the break as they held a 0-11 to 0-1 advantage.

It took Cavan 20 minutes to get their one and only score of the half when wing-back Conor Brady burst through to fist over. They hit five first half wides, but remarkably the visitors still racked up one more.

Centre half-forward Niall Sludden opened the scoring in the sixth minute, and moments later Burns crashed a shot off the bar after good work from Padraig McNulty and Mattie Donnelly.

Peter Harte pointed from play, as well as from a free, before Donnelly took a superb score to leave it 0-4 to 0-0 at the end of the quarter. Ronan O'Neill then got in on the act as Tyrone continued to dominate.

With McShane and McNulty on top in midfield, the visitors continued to pour forward with O'Neill knocking over a long range free as well as another eye-catching effort from play.

Brendan Burns, Hugh Pat McGeary and Padraig Hampsey were giving little away in defence, while at the other end it took a super save from Cavan keeper James Farrelly to deny McNulty at the expense of a '45, which Harte got.

O'Neill was giving the Cavan defence a torrid time, and he landed the score of the night with a sublime effort with the outside of his boot. Harte and Lee Brennan both split the posts and either side of that McNulty was denied by the woodwork.

There was no let up from Tyrone on the restart - Harte and Bryan Magee swapped points from frees before Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan made a good save to deny Ciaran Brady.

Harte, Brennan and substitute Ronan McHugh all added to Tyrone's mounting tally, with Cavan's sole response coming from Niall McKiernan. Tyrone then carved open the Cavan defence for Sludden to fire low to the net.

Harte went off injured, but not before he had turned in a man-of-the-match display with 0-7.

With time almost up, Donnelly finished off another flowing move with a well-taken goal as the Red Hands coasted to victory.

The holders now play Fermanagh in the semi-final this Sunday as they bid to take another step towards a seventh McKenna Cup title success in a row.

Cavan: J Farrelly, D Phillips, D Monahan, D Kennedy, Conor Brady (0-1), Ciaran Brady (0-1), O Kiernan (0-1), T Galligan, P Faulkner, J Wharton, E Flanagan, N Clerkin, C Bradley, N McKiernan (0-1), B Magee (0-2, 1f). Subs: D Brady for Bradley, P Moore for Wharton, C Moynagh for Clerkin, D McIntyre (0-1) for Conor Brady, C Daly for Flanagan (black card), P Gilcreest for Galligan, S McCormack for Ciaran Brady

Tyrone: N Morgan, B Burns, P Hampsey, HP McGeary, M McKernan, T McCann, R McNabb, C McShane, P McNulty, M Donnelly (1-1), N Sludden (1-2), P Harte (0-7, 5f, 1 "45), L Brennan (0-5, 3f), F Burns, R O'Neill (0-6, 3f).

Subs: C McCarron for Hampsey, C McLaughlin for McNabb, C McCann for McShane, R McHugh (0-1) for Harte, R Donnelly for McNulty, M Cassidy for T McCann

Referee: N Cullen, Fermanagh

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