LATE scores from Sean Cavanagh eased Tyrone to a valuable 0-14 to 0-10 home win over Monaghan at Healy Park which puts the Red Hands into pole position in Division One.
The veteran star fired over two crucial scores as Peter Harte grabbed a third to thwart a spirited comeback from the Farney county. The victory means that Tyrone are second in the top flight with a game less played.
But this win could and perhaps should have been more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. An excellent first half display put Tyrone into a commanding 0-9 to 0-2 half-time lead and they looked capable of capitalising.
Tiernan McCann, Darren McCurry, Frank Burns, Peter Harte and Justin McMahon all registered well take scores as a number of goal chances were also created. Harte blasted a penalty wide, while Mattie Donnelly also came agonisingly close to hitting the net on two separate occasions.
Nevertheless, there was a good degree of optimism entering the second half. Monaghan’s hopes were also dented by the dismissal of Fintan Kelly and Dermot Malone, but they suddenly found their form.
A series of great points from Conor McManus, Rory Beggan, Kieran Hughes and Jack McCarron brought them right back into the game on a score of 0-10 to 0-7 entering the closing stages.
But Tyrone hit them on the counter-attack when it mattered. Darren McCurry struck the crossbar with another goal chance, as those late points from Sean Cavanagh and Peter Harte kept them just far enough ahead.
Afterwards, team manager, Mickey Harte acknowledged that the first half performance was critical to the success.
“With the superior numbers we should have been forcing more out of them and getting more scores than we did,” he said.
“We would be very disappointed with our second half performance and really the game was won in the first half when we played really well, kicked some great scores. You’d have been very happy at half-time even with the missed penalty and another goal chance hitting the post.”