By Mike Fitzpatrick
Cavan 4-13, Tyrone 0-12
The final scoreline here may surprise a lot of GAA folk, but there’s more to it than merely a convincing Cavan victory in this senior football Div. 1 game.
With Tyrone having slipped from their lofty position at the top of the table, they seemed as if they may not even be assured of a playoff place. Cavan, on the other hand, were always just out of the reckoning; they had to hope Stamford defeated Leitrim in the earlier game to stand a hope of gaining entry into the latter stages of the season. They pulled off their part of the bargain in defeating Ulster rivals Tyrone, but Leitrim went on to beat Stamford, meaning that it will be them and not Cavan who reach this year’s playoffs.
Tyrone obviously took advantage of this knowledge, and rested two of their stars from the starting line up, Danny Barr and Philip Sloane. It’s difficult to say whether they actually took it easy in the knowledge that they had made it to the all important championship playoffs, or if Cavan wanted their season to end with a bang, knowing it was to be their final game of the year.
It was Cavan which stormed in front early on, and rarely looked like relinquishing their lead. An early goal from Paddy Healy was followed by points from JP Smith, Colm Shannon and a Mick McHale goal to give the blues a hefty nine-point lead.
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Tyrone hit back courtesy of Gerard Flanagan, Paul McGuirk and Mickey Coleman, but at the half time interval, Cavan were well in control.
The second half was a disappointing affair to say the least, with Tyrone seemingly comfortable in the knowledge that they were home safe. Cavan continued scoring and at the end of the half, goals from Colm Shannon and McHale, and points from Emmet McCormack, and Ronan McGrath finished off the annihilation.
Tyrone will not be too disappointed however. An upcoming playoff clash looms for this Ulster side, and despite their late season slump, they could go a long way this season.
Cavan: Kevin Shalvey, Niall Sugrue, Cian McGrath, Barney Brady, Francie Sheridan, Ronan McGrath (0-1), Emmet McCormack (0-2), Mick McHale (2-0), Greg Kilmurray (0-1), Junior O’Connor, JP Smith (0-5), Paddy Healy (0-1), Dessie O’Reilly, Gary McDermott, Colm Shannon (1-2). Subs: Gene Reilly, Liam Maguire (0-1)
Tyrone: Gary McGonnell, Enda Donnelly, Enda McNulty, Martin Clenaghan, John Cormican, Collie Fearon, Karl Quinn, Paul McGuirk (0-2), Justin McNulty (0-1), Gerard Flanagan, Mickey Coleman (0-7), Darren Flanagan (0-1), Ronan O’Reilly (0-1), Joe Firth, Barry Tally. Subs: Danny Barr, Philip Sloan.