Ulster MFC: Tyrone fend off Cavan fightback to book place in last four

Derry await the Red Hands in Owenbeg next weekend

Liam McGeary
Tyrone’s Liam McGeary (right) celebrates after scoring the only goal of Saturday’s quarter-final against Cavan in Omagh Picture: Colm Lenaghan
Electric Ireland Ulster MFC quarter-final: Tyrone 1-14 Cavan 0-15

TYRONE held off Cavan’s spirited comeback to shade a gripping quarter-final and set up a semi-final clash with Derry next weekend.

The Red Hands led by seven points at one stage, but a resurgent Breffni side narrowed the gap to one, and will look back on this as one they could have won.

Liam McGeary’s 23rd-minute goal came at a vital stage for a Red Hand side feeling the heat from an opponent reawakened after a difficult start.

Cavan hit eight points either side of the only goal of the game, but despite that momentum they could never manage to get their noses in front.

There was no sign of the Breffni bounce in an opening quarter which saw Tyrone race into a 0-8 to 0-1 lead, having launched themselves into the contest with two early Shea McDermott points.

Lorcan McMurray, Sean Óg Teague and McGeary were also on target, and a fluent home side also crafted a couple of goal chances, but Jamie Concannon and McMurray were denied by excellent Cian McConnell saves.

But Cavan, playing into the wind, found new direction, with Ryan Nwaneri and Joshua Shehu causing serious problems for the Tyrone defence.

Tadgh Sheils, Nathan Quigley and Oisin Maguire all fired over points, and Maguire was denied a goal by Oisin Watson’s fine save.

Tyrone managed to break for McMurray to send McGeary in to hit the net, but the bombardment continued at the other end, wth Quigley, Shiels and Shehu all on target.

Tyrone led by 1-9 to 0-9 at the break, but Charlie Fallon narrowed the gap to a single point on 43 minutes.

The Red Hands regained their composure for McDermott to land a fine score, with McGeary and Concannon also adding points.

Cavan lost key men Nwaneri and Maguire to injury, as well as Fiachra Brady to a black card, but stayed in touch with Shehu’s fifth point of the afternoon to keep them within two points going into the last five minutes.

Tyrone rallied again, and McGeary was on target again, followed by a Peter McGoldrick free to give them some breathing space, and they held on despite Cavan’s strong late surge.

Tyrone O Watson; P McGinley, P Goodman, E Conway; S Corry (0-1), D McKeown, A Quinn; E Donaghy, P Colton; P Donaghy, J Concannon (0-1), S Óg Teague (0-3, 0-1 free); L McMurray (0-2), S McDermott (0-3), L McGeary (1-2)

Subs E Mansell for P Donaghy (44), P McGoldrick (0-1) for Quinn (50), J Mulgrew for E Donaghy (56), D Devlin for Conway (56), D McAnespie for McKeown (60)

Cavan C McConnell; A Dowd, C Doyle, S Macken; F Brady, O Maguire (0-1), A Hill; J Clarke, T Gilsenan; T Sheils (0-3), R Nwaneri (0-1), O Madden; N Quigley (0-3, 0-2 frees), J Shehu (0-6, 0-2 frees), C Fallon (0-1).

Subs S McCabe for Hill (48), U O’Reilly for Nwaneri (50), F Graham for Maguire (54), S Galligan for Quigley (62).

Referee Richie Donoghue (Derry).