Cavanagh cameo gets Tyrone over the line
Thursday, 9 March 2017
Tyrone 0-14 Monaghan 0-10
TYRONE moved into second place in the NFL Division One table, with a game in hand, after carving out a four points win over Monaghan at Healy Park.
The Red Hands looked set for a comfortable success following an impressive first half display, and a runaway win seemed inevitable when the visitors had two men sent off inside the opening five minutes of the second period.
But the Farney side performed with passion and courage, and were the better side from there to the finish.
Tyrone needed a vital contribution from Sean Cavanagh, who came off the bench to send over three late scores to make sure of the league points.
“We had certainly given ourselves fantastic foundations for a positive result at the finish, but maybe became a bit complacent," said Tiernan McCann.
“As it happened, we slacked off a bit in the second half, although Monaghan in fairness never gave up, dropped players back and soaked up the pressure.
“Our slump was probably also due to the fact that they were very good. We've been sitting for two or three weeks waiting for a game and it was just good to get back to winning ways.
“The sending off of the two Monaghan players was unbelievable and I was looking round at one stage thinking did I imagine it because they were still picking players up. That can boost a team because every player raises their workrate.
“There were a couple of goal chances for us and I don't think I've ever seen Peter Harte miss a penalty. But Rory Beggan is a big tall presence in the goals, we hit the crossbar and I played a bad pass across to Mattie Donnelly at one stage as well.
“The positive is that we're creating the opportunities because it would be a lot worse if we were struggling to get scores."
But the important thing was the result, and the two points that keeps the Red Hands among the leading pack.
“Obviously the main thing is that the win has been recorded, because first priority in Division One is to maintain that status," said McCann.
“We're two points closer to that, and there's another mini Ulster-fest in Division One in the next few weeks before the Mayo and Kerry games."
Tyrone now have five games on successive weekends, with a re-fixed tie against Cavan next up at Healy Park on Sunday.
“Five weeks in a row is a bit like the All-Ireland Qualifiers, but the competitiveness and fitness is testament to the coaching of Peter Donnelly. Tuesday nights are now probably going to be recovery-based sessions and all these things are important now in the modern game.
“There's a squad of 33 players and it's probably going to be a case of using them in the next few weeks. Playing the matches is good as long as you can keep on top of the injuries and the recovery."
And the Killyclogher man feels it's crucial that maximum points are collected from the home games.
“It's extremely important to get the home points because I think we're going to be on the road more in the next few weeks. We want to make Healy Park something of a fortress because in the past people maybe said that Tyrone didn't perform well here.
“Everyone seems to become closer on the weekends away which results in really good performances. So, we're trying to get that same level at home."
Tyrone's superbly organised defensive system frustrated their opponents throughout the first half, and all the visitors could manage was two Jack McCarron points.
Meanwhile, the Red Hands raided at pace, to stunning effect as they swept over a succession of quality scores from play.
Conor Meyler, Tiernan McCann, Darren McCurry and Frank Burns, making his first league start, were all on target from distance as the home side established control of the tie.
And they were awarded a penalty in the tenth minute for a foul on Mattie Donnelly, but Peter Harte sent his kick just wide.
When McCarron finally opened his side's account in the 25th minute, it looked as if Monaghan could find some rythmn, but Tyrone immediately got backl on top, with McCann landing his second, and Harte kicking three, two of them from frees, the other a spectacular effort from distance.
Tyrone led by 0-9 to 0-2 at the break, and Monaghan suffered a further blow when defender Fintan Kelly picked up a second yellow card just a minute after the restart.
But they continued to press, and Conor McManus combined with Conor McCarthy to set up a goal chance for Dessie Ward, but he was superbly denied by Mickey O'Neill, with McManus converting the resultant '45.
But in the 40th minute, the Farney side suffered anotehr blow when Dermot Malone was shown a straight red card by referee Padraig Hughes
But they played like men possessed, displaying remarkable levels of courage and determination to step up their
challenge and continue the fightback.
Goalkeeper Rory Beggan thumped over a couple of long range frees, and a point from Kieran Hughes, now pushed up to full forward, narrowed the gap to three points.
Sean Cavanagh's introduction was crucial for a Tyrone side reeling under the pressure, and he scored three points, two of them spectacular efforts from play, to tip the balance back in his side's favour.
Monaghan continued to battle, with points from McManus and McCarron, but the Red Hands held on for the win and the league points.
Tyrone scorers: Peter Harte 0-4 (2 frees), Sean Cavanagh 0-3 (1 free), Darren McCurry, Tiernan McCann 0-2 each, Conor Meyler, Justin McMahon, Frank Burns 0-1 each,
Monaghan scorers: Jack McCarron 0-4 (2 frees), Rory a (2 frees), Conor McManus ( 1 free, 1'45), Kieran Hughes 0-2 each.
Tyrone: Mickey O'Neill; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann, Justin McMahon, Frank Burns; Colm Cavanagh, Declan McClure; Conor Meyler, Kieran McGeary, Peter Harte; Darren McCurry, Mattie Donnelly, Ronan O'Neill.
Subs: Sean Cavanagh for Donnelly (blood), Cathal McShane for Burns, S Cavanagh for McClure, Aidan McCrory for McCarron, Conall McCann for O'Neill.
Monaghan: Rory Beggan; Fintan Kelly, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Kieran Duffy, Neil McAdam, Ryan McAnespie; Owen Coyle, Kieran Hughes; Thomas Kerr, Dermot Malone, Gavin Doogan; Karl O'Connell, Jack McCarron, Conor McManus.
Subs: Dessie Ward for Duffy, Conor McCarthy for Kerr, Stephen Gollogly for Doogan, James Mealiff for McAnespie.
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).
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