Power NI McKenna Cup Final: Tyrone 1-15 Cavan 0-11
Tyrone's pace and scoring power was ultimately decisive as they won their third McKenna Cup in a row against 14-man Cavan.
Mickey Harte’s side trailed by four points towards the end of a first-half which Cavan had totally bossed. However, they scored 1-1 in injury-time, Plunkett Kane with the only goal of the game, to draw level at 1-5 to 0-8 at the break.
The Breffni Blues had Killian Brady sent off after 49 minutes and ultimately the gap between Division I and Division III was exposed as Cavan struggled with Tyrone’s speed of play.
Tyrone had eight different players on the scoresheet and outscored their opponents by ten points to three in a totally dominant second-half.
In front of a crowd of 4,597 in the Athletic Grounds, Cavan raced into a three point lead with their prolific inside forward line of Martin Dunne and Eugene Keating really on song. Kyle Coney sent over Tyrone’s first point in the eleventh minute, a score they badly needed with Cavan the team with all the momentum.
Eugene Keating was out in front of his marker, Danny McBride, every time and judged the wind perfectly to fire over three points in the first-half. His third one, in the 29th minute, was a gem from out on the far touchline. Martin Dunne was just as dangerous as Keating and managed 0-4 in the opening period, two points from play and two frees.
PJ Lavery and Mark Donnelly had decent goal chances but Niall Morgan’s accuracy, with three long-range frees, kept Tyrone in touch.
Seán Cavanagh, bidding to win his first trophy as Tyrone captain, showed some leadership to burst through from the centre half-forward position to tap the ball over the bar but Cavan still led by 0-8 to 0-4 with half-time approaching.
For all Cavan’s superiority, they only went in level at the break with Tyrone scoring 1-1 in first-half injury-time. Morgan’s free, after Killian Brady picked up the first yellow card of the game for a high tackle on Tiernan McCann, closed the gap before Plunkett Kane’s goal two minutes into stoppage time.
Paddy McNeice was involved twice in the move, passing to Mark Donnelly and getting the return ball before shooting low for goal. Goalkeeper Alan O’Mara saved with his feet but Kane was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net.
Cavan, who had won six games out of six in 2014, made more mistakes and handling errors in the ten minutes after half-time than in the entire first-half.
Tyrone had the wind in the second-half and pumped long balls in on top of Coney and McNeice. The latter missed two glaring goal chances in the third quarter, fizzing the ball over the bar on both occasions when he had been put clean through unmarked in front of goal.
Cavan were reduced to 14 men on 49 minutes when Killian Brady, who had been booked in the first-half, then received a black card for a foul on PJ Lavery.
Cavan could not handle Tyrone’s speed on the counter-attack and their defence was all at sea. Tyrone carved them open at will but couldn't get the second goal they needed to kill the game.
PJ Lavery got bottled up just as he was about to shoot but Mark Donnelly made sure Tyrone got something out of the attack with another point and Coney also scored on the break. The scores dried up for Cavan in the second-half and substitute David Givney ended a 17 minute scoring drought with a long-range score.
Having put so much effort into the first-half, Cavan wilted in the final quarter and although Mark McKeever hit the post late on, there was an inevitability about the result long before the final whistle.
Scorers for Cavan: M Dunne 0-4 (2f), E Keating 0-3, C Mackey 0-3, D Givney 0-1
Scorers for Tyrone: K Coney 0-5 (2f), N Morgan 0-3 (3f), P Kane 1-0, P McNeice 0-3, S Cavanagh 0-1, M Donnelly 0-1, N McKenna 0-1, C McGinley 0-1
CAVAN: A O’Mara; J Hayes, R Dunne, K Brady; D Barkey, J McLoughlin, J McEnroe; D McKiernan, D O’Reilly; M Reilly, N McDermott, M Argue; C Mackey, M Dunne, E Keating. Subs: D Givney for Barkey (46), N Smith for M Dunne (52), G McKiernan for D McKiernan (54), K Tierney for McDermott (62), M McKeever for Hayes (66), P Leddy for McLoughlin (70)
TYRONE: N Morgan; PJ Quinn, D McBride, R McKenna; R McNabb, D Carlin, T McCann; N McKenna, S Cavanagh; PJ Lavery, C Cavanagh, P Kane; P McNeice, M Donnelly, K Coney. Subs: C Grugan for C Cavanagh (HT), C McGinley for McNabb (48), A McCrory for McBride (54), E McKenna for Kane (57), S McGuigan for Lavery (67), P Hughes for Donnelly (67)
REFEREE: Martin McNally (Monaghan)