at Healy Park
Cavan are without a National League win over Tyrone since the 1990s and their dismal record continued in Omagh this evening when they were out-played in the second half by an energetic and purposeful Tyrone side.
Cavan travelled north off the back of a promising win over Roscommon but they were second best by a long stretch here against the Red Hands, who continued their recent dominance over the Breffni men. Tyrone won the first half by four points and the second, against the win, by five, with the result beyond doubt long before the final whistle.
At half-time, Tyrone were leading by double scores, 0-8 to 0-4, but had played with the benefit of a very strong wind.
Tyrone’s defence were extremely well-organised in the first half and Cavan, faced with the elements, just could not break them down. The Blues chose not to shoot from long range and, faced by a blanket defence, struggled to create scoring opportunities from open play.
That said, Mickey Graham’s men would have been content going in at the interval but they got off to a dreadful start to the second half when Killian Clarke picked up a second yellow card and Tyrone reeled off two quick points.
Jack Brady opened the scoring with a free on six minutes but Conor McAlliskey soon levelled with a similar effort.
A snapshot from Niall Sludden nudged the hosts into the lead and a converted mark from Cathal McShane made it a two-point game on the 11-minute mark.
Cavan were getting bottled up – they were penalised for over-carrying six times in the first half by referee Padraig Hughes – too often and Tyrone, with the wind, always seemed more likely to create scoring chances at this stage.
Cavan did carve out half a goal chance but the ball ran away from Jack Brady after a clever flick from Conor Madden.
At the other end, McAlliskey converted an excellent free and Kieran McGeary palmed over (it could have been under) the bar to make it 0-6 to 0-2 after Martin Reilly had pulled back a point for Cavan from a free.
Jack Brady and Peter Harte traded frees and Sludden landed a good score from play before Cavan had the final say of the first half, Conor Moynagh breaking a tackle and releasing Dara McVeety for an important score.
Down by four but with 35 wind-assisted minutes to come, Cavan had reasons to feel optimistic about their chances but the second half turned out to be a disaster for the visiting side.
Tyrone bagged two early scores and with Cavan reduced to 14 men following Killian Clarke’s dismissal on a second yellow card, they found themselves chasing shadows.
Ray Galligan kicked a good free from long-range to leave five between them and when sub Darren McCurry did brilliantly to release Peter Harte for a well-taken goal, it was all over bar the shouting.
Tyrone, their confidence up, kicked a succession of quality scores from the likes of sub Kyle Coney and corner-back Hugh Pat McGeary, with Harte adding a couple of frees.
Cian Mackey came off the bench to convert two frees and send over a good point from play but Tyrone were always in control, with Cavan missing a number of scoreable frees which might have put a prettier complexion on the scoreboard.
As it was, their performance levels dropped significantly after the break and, in the end, Mickey Harte's men were full value for their nine-point victory, although the sending off was a very big factor in this contest.
That said, a lot of soul-searching will be required by Cavan if they are to have any chance of now avoiding the drop to Division 2.
Cavan: Raymond Galligan, Jason McLoughlin, Paraig Faulkner, Conor Moynagh, Ciaran Brady, Chris Conroy, Conor Rehill, Paul Graham, Killian Clarke, Martin Reilly, Dara McVeety, Niall Murray, Niall Clerkin, Jack Brady, Conor Madden
Subs: Thomas Galligan for Graham (ht), Gerry Smith for Clerkin (ht), Niall McKiernan for J Brady (49), Cian Mackey for Conroy (50), Stephen Murray for Murray (65)
Tyrone: Niall Morgan, Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Hugh Pat McGeary, Tiernan McCann, Frank Burns, Ben McDonnell, Cathal McShane, Richard Donnelly, Matthew Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Conor Meyler, Conor McAlliskey, Peter Harte, Kieran McGeary
Subs: Darren McCurry for McAlliskey (45 mins), Kyle Coney for McShane (46), Harry Loughran for K McGeary, Lee Brennan for McNamee (58), Rory Brennan for Hampsey (61)
Ref: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)