Coming into the game Tyrone were expecting a real challenge for Cavan and Mickey Graham will be hugely disappointed that his men failed to perform. Within fifteen minutes Tyrone broke their spirits and, once they did, there was no way back for Cavan.
Tyrone were totally ruthless. Mickey Harte got his matchups spot on. Marty Reilly and Dara McVeety never got a sniff in the opening half. That’s got less to do with those two men and more to do with the fact that Colm Cavanagh and Brian Kennedy dominated the Cavan midfield. For Cavan to do well they needed Gearoid McKiernan to show up and have a massive influence on the game. It never happened. It paints a poor picture when you don’t score from play until the 28th minute.
There’s a suggestion that Cavan tried to rough the Tyrone players up and that’s why they gave away so many frees. I don’t see it that way. I think they were chasing shadows. The Tyrone attack hit the Cavan defenders at pace and Cavan found themselves on the wrong side of so many poorly timed and misjudged tackles.
Mattie Donnelly dominated the possessions count and there’s no doubt that when he decides to show up he’s a real handful for any side. Mattie is prone to going sideways but when he goes direct the defence is left with no other option than to foul him.
I was happy to see his brother Richard return to action as well. He’s another man who, when he takes the initiative, can change the game. He’s a brilliant kicker of the ball and that’s what’s going to be needed when the intensity increases over the next couple of weeks. The quality of ball going into Cathal McShane must be seriously accurate.
He’s going to be a targeted man.
The fact that Tyrone haven’t been tested in the qualifiers ahead of the Super 8s doesn’t really bother me. Mickey will approach every game in the same manner. I bet he’s found at least half a dozen problems with the Cavan game. Everyone will be on their toes ahead of Roscommon on Saturday. The loss to Donegal is well and truly out of the system. On Saturday’s performance they’d have beaten Donegal.
Peter Harte black card
The Peter Harte black card was a joke. The previous two black cards that he picked up in the Longford and Donegal games were also seriously harsh.
Mickey Harte is right to be disgusted about them. It’s a waste of an evening heading off to Croke Park to appeal them when everyone knows that they should never have been handed out in the first place.
Peter Harte isn’t that type of player.
On to Roscommon
And so to Roscommon in the Hyde this weekend.
The Rossies were raging that they didn’t get two points over Tyrone in the league. The wind dominated the game that day, but the league will have no bearing on this game. Tyrone love playing away from home so the trip to Roscommon won’t annoy them.
Roscommon are better organised this year than they have been for a while. I expect them to cause Tyrone a few problems but I don’t see them winning.
Tyrone by five!