Cavan sink All-Ireland champs with excellent performance
Dr McKenna Cup, round 2
Paul Fitzpatrick at Kingspan Breffni
Cavan recorded a rare win over Tyrone at senior level with this one-sided victory over Tyrone this evening.
In the process, Mickey Graham’s charges delivered by far their best performance since the 2020 Ulster final, with outstanding individual displays all over the pitch.
There was some optimism around Cavan’s chances coming into the game, with Tyrone just home from a team holiday in the United States, but few would have predicted the half-time scoreline as Cavan led the All-Ireland champions by 1-9 to 0-2.
And while Tyrone introduced numerous big names at half-time and in the second half, it made no difference as Cavan dominated all sectors.
Cavan boss Mickey Graham named a very strong starting team and they laid down a marker early, with Cormac O’Reilly and Gerry Smith popping over points in the opening two minutes.
Tyrone replied when Michael Conroy, otherwise subdued by an impressive Padraig Faulkner, pounced on a mistake to point but they would register just one more score for the remainder of the first half.
Patrick Lynch sent over a fine score off the left as, at the other end, Cavan dealt well with long, direct ball to the Tyrone full-forward line, with Faulkner, Killian Brady and Killian Clarke razor sharp.
After a Faulkner turnover, Cavan put a great move together involving Oisin Brady, Cormac O’Reilly and James Smith, with Gearoid McKiernan supplying the finishing touch.
Tyrone were in trouble on their own kick-out; Clarke won the next one and fed O’Reilly, who fisted over to make it 0-5 to 0-1 after 11 minutes.
A free from Darren McCurry, the scourge of Cavan in the championship meeting last year, cut the gap to three but that was as good as it got for the Red Hands in the first half.
Faulkner won a free which McKiernan slotted over; then Cormac O’Reilly, who was forced off with a knock at half-time after a super first half, centred a ball which Oisin Brady thumped over.
And when Raymond Galligan confidently stroked over a 50-metre free from the ground, Cavan were 0-8 to 0-2 ahead and cruising.
Tyrone rallied and could have drawn closer but for some poor shooting, McCurry the main culprit with three wides in succession.
The contest was effectively put to bed just before the break when a great ball from Jason McLoughlin found Lynch, who headed for goal and laid off for McKiernan who sent a perfect soccer-style finish to the bottom corner of the net.
A Lynch free in injury time made it 1-9 to 0-2 at half-time and Cavan quickly extended their advantage on the restart with another for the in-form McKiernan and a great point from Lynch, which looked a little dubious – although it would even out for the Crosserlough man later when a sure ‘point’ was waved wide.
A spectacular McKiernan mark, after a nice ball from Chris Conroy, stretched the hosts’ lead and another eye-catching point from Lynch made it 1-13 to 0-2 with half an hour remaining on the clock.
McKiernan, having a brilliant game, fired over another from the edge of the D from play before McCurry finally added a third Tyrone point with a free.
Frustrations then boiled over as numerous players got involved in a scuffle which resulted in several yellow cards and one red, for Tyrone’s Richie Donnelly.
Cavan, who had just one win over Tyrone in 21 years prior to this game, continued to pile on the pressure.
Gerard Smith sent one over with the outside of the boot and Faulkner came storming forward for another as Cavan went 16 points ahead.
Lee Brennan kicked Tyrone’s fourth point, soon cancelled out by a well-taken score from Stephen Smith at the other end, and the final say went to Tyrone sub Sean Loughran who landed their best score of the night.
By then, too, it mattered little. Cavan were home and hosed, with Faulkner, McKiernan, Lynch, James Smith, Clarke and McLoughlin all outstanding among others.
Cavan: Raymond Galligan (0-1f), Evan Finnegan, Padraig Faulkner (0-1), Killian Brady, Jason McLoughlin (0-1), Chris Conroy, Oisin Kiernan, James Smith, Killian Clarke, Gerard Smith (0-2), Gearoid McKiernan (1-5, 1f, 1m), Oisin Brady (0-1), Cormac O’Reilly (0-2), Paddy Lynch (0-4, 1f), Conor Madden
Subs: Caoimhin O’Reilly for Cormac O’Reilly (ht), Conor Moynagh for Finnegan (48 mins), Niall Murray for G Smith, Stephen Smith (0-1) for O Brady, Benjamin Kelly for K Brady (all 57 mins), Liam Brady for Galligan (58), Ryan O’Neill for Madden (61), Michael Argue for Clarke (62), Fionntán O’Reilly for Lynch, Paul Smith for McKiernan (64)
Tyrone: Lorcan Quinn, Liam Rafferty, Conor Quinn, Paudie Hampsey, Shea Hamill, Rory Brennan, Peter Harte, Richard Donnelly, Joe Oguz, Nathan Donnelly, Kieran McGeary, Tomas Carney, Darren McCurry (0-2f), Michael Conroy (0-1), Lee Brennan (0-1)
Subs: Conn Kilpatrick for Conroy, Conor Meyler for Carney, Sean Loughran (0-1) for Hamill (all ht), Conal Grimes for Rafferty, Pete Herron for N Donnelly (both 50 mins), Matthew Murnaghan for K McGeary, Rory Donnelly for C Quinn (both 57 mins), Michael McKernan for Hampsey (68)
Ref: Kevin Faloon