Cavan crashed out of the championship meekly with a 16-point hammering at the hands of Tyrone in St Tiarnach's Park this afternoon.
In beautifully sunny conditions, this was a footballing slaughter. Tyrone - the one side many Cavan fans stated they did not want in Monday's qualifier draw - just blitzed the Breffni men from the off and inflicted a hugely damaging defeat.
It became evident almost immediately that Cavan did not have the ability to break down the Tyrone defence by running the ball but the Blues did not seem to have any other game plan in reserve.
So, they hogged the sidelines, patiently worked the ball through the hands and looked to spread the blanket but the Red Hands steadfastly cut off all avenues to goal and, at the other end, cut through the Cavan defence with alarming ease.
The best goal chance of the half fell to Brian Kennedy, Ray Galligan doing well to turn his shot on to the post but, true to form, Niall Morgan nailed the resulting 45. That made it 0-4 to 0-2 but already, the message was clear: there would be no let-up.
Cavan opened the scoring with a well-struck Niall Murray free but Kennedy equalised with an easy score before Morgan stroked over a free from 55 metres.
Gearoid McKiernan kicked a free for Cavan to tie it but once Niall Sludden curled in a lovely point, Mickey Harte’s men had a lead they would never relinquish.
They registered six points in succession between the 16th and 26th minutes and after that, it was all cosmetic. Morgan (45), Colm Cavanagh and the impressive Cathal McShane landed the first three and then Darren McCurry popped up with a quickfire hat-trick of white flags.
There was no respite for Mickey Graham’s side, who must have had a depressing sense of déjà vu following their thumping at the same venue in the Ulster final against Donegal 13 days ago. On that occasion, at least, Cavan made a game of it in the second half; this time, they could not manage even that much as Tyrone, clearly with a gear in reserve, eased home.
Sub Conor Madden had poached a super point for Cavan but three frees (two from McShane and one from Peter Harte) rounded off the first-half scoring and the second half was a procession.
While Gerard Smith got Cavan off to a decent start with a fine point, Tyrone went about their business with impressive poise once more. Graham could be heard exhorting his players to push up but his calls fell on deaf ears as Tyrone continued to dominate.
Sludden and Harte added scores and after a sweet pass from Kieran McGeary, McShane swivelled for an outstanding point. He soon tacked on another to make it 0-17 to 0-5 and then came the coup de grace, sub Ben McDonnell out-fielding Cavan goalkeeper Ray Galligan and tucking away for the game’s only goal with 10 minutes to play.
Conall McCann and Harte, with a brace, completed the rout with a Niall Murray free and a consolation effort from the otherwise-subdued Dara McVeety all Cavan could muster.
Tyrone march on to the Super 8s with a spring in their step and considerable momentum. For Cavan, a long autumn and winter awaits after a season which promised so much ended with two drubbings at the home of Ulster football.