GAA Football

How the Tyrone players rated against Cavan

Referee Barry Cassidy watches on as Tyrone's Matthew Donnelly and Cavan's Ciaran Brady fight for possession. Cassidy black-carded Peter Harte in the closing stage which dominated the post-match reaction Picture: Philip Walsh.


STAR MAN: Niall Morgan: When this game was a contest, everything Morgan did was exemplary. He was composed and urgent throughout. Converted two placed balls from distance in the first half. Forced to go long with a lot of his kick-outs and he usually found his target. 8.5

Hugh Pat McGeary: Possesses a great appetite for doing the ugly things well. Did a good spoiling job on Gearoid McKiernan from some early kick-outs and held up Cavan attackers with some disciplined defending. 7

Ronan McNamee: Cavan couldn’t get a lot of ball into Dara McVeety but when they did McNamee gobbled him up. Had plenty of defenders around him for company but still imposing in his own right. 7

Rory Brennan: Few opponents get the better of the under-rated Brennan. Cian Mackey lit up this year’s provincial Championship but Brennan chased him out of Tyrone territory. 7.5

Michael Cassidy: A workmanlike display from the Ardboe wing-back. Kept good width when he attacked and was unlucky not to register a score in the first half. 6

Kieran McGeary: You got the impression McGeary was ready for a battle and was disappointed when it didn’t come from Cavan. Tackled well, passed well. A handy evening for the Pomeroy defender. 7

Frank Burns: Apart from a couple of misplaced passes at either end of the game, Burns was otherwise very solid. Reads the game really well. Has the ability to kick pass from the back to speed up Tyrone’s counter-attack. 7

Colm Cavanagh: Any time Cavan had the temerity to attack down the centre, the ball usually ended up in Cavanagh’s hands. Completely demoralised the Cavan runners and timed one run to fire over. 8

Brian Kennedy: Produced a blistering first 20 minutes, scoring after six minutes, assisting for Cavanagh’s first half score and made some penetrating runs. Might have done better with his early goal chance. 7

Matthew Donnelly: A little bit lost in the midfield mire at times, the Trillick man was nevertheless very good between the two ‘45s. On second viewing, you get a better appreciation of his shrewd efforts. 7.5

Niall Sludden: Picked off a class point in the opening half and bagged another in the second half. Didn’t see many of his trademark line-breaking runs though. Replaced in the final 10 minutes. 6.5

Peter Harte: His controversial black card for a trip on Gerard Smith rules him out of the Roscommon game. With two blacks against his name he perhaps should have been the first player to be substituted. Five frees and a point from play. 7

Darren McCurry: After a quiet opening, hit three points in a row towards the end of the first half and forced Cavan into a defensive rethink. 7.5

Cathal McShane: On this form, there isn’t a defender in the country that can tame McShane who has morphed into a beast of a full-forward. Absolutely explosive, his back-to-back points in the second half were devastating. 8

Conor Meyler: Took some heavy hits but dusted himself down and kept running at Cavan. Marty Reilly struggled to track his runs but the Omagh man wasn’t a scoring threat. 6


Padraig Hampsey: Got 20 minutes game-time under his belt. 5

Kyle Coney: Sprayed some nice passes under little pressure. 5

Michael McKernan: The fizz had long gone out of the game by the time of his arrival. 5

Ben McDonnell: Made some ground up to catch the ball and score the only goal of the game. 6

Conall McCann: Grabbed a late point. 5

Richie Donnelly: Not on long enough to be rated.


Ref watch…

IT’S true what they say: the law is an ass. The temptation is to hammer Barry Cassidy for issuing a black card to Peter Harte in the closing stages of Saturday evening’s game, which rules him out of next week’s Roscommon tie having now accrued three blacks in this campaign.

Cassidy could easily have ignored Harte’s senseless trip on Gerard Smith in the middle of the field and blown the final whistle - and that would’ve been that. No controversy. And no heat for the Derry whistler.

But, Cassidy was correct in issuing the black card. It’s the laws that govern the black card that are a nonsense – not Barry Cassidy’s decision to issue one.

For instance, in the 20th minute, Gearoid McKiernan’s successful attempt to prevent Harte from breaking forward was a far more cynical foul. McKiernan’s indiscretion, however, did not fit any of the eccentric criteria laid down by the black card and so the big Cavan midfielder escaped censure.

In a strange way, Cassidy’s strict application of the black card laws shone a light on just how ridiculous aspects of it are and how other more cynical fouls are tolerated in the game.

It’s ironic that Barry Cassidy actually had a decent game on Saturday night.


Key battle…

Ronan McNamee (Tyrone) v Dara McVeety (Cavan)

CAVAN were probably hoping against hope that Mattie Donnelly would be pushed back into the full-forward line for Saturday night’s Round Three Qualifier and Tyrone would revert back to having less bodies in their own ’45.

That way we might have seen a bit more of Dara McVeety’s marquee quality. As it was, Cavan’s go-to man was bottled up be sheer force of numbers as well as Ronan McNamee’s impressive diligence.

When the ball was kicked into McVeety, McNamee looked very assured and didn’t allow his man to get any confidence-booster.

Top score…

A THIRD of Tyrone’s scores came from placed balls and there weren’t a lot of memorable ones from play either.

But arguably the one that stands above all others was Niall Sludden’s 13th minute score.

Peter Harte won Niall Morgan’s pinpoint kick-out. Harte turned and the Tyrone attack rolled forward with pace and precision. Colm Cavanagh, Darren McCurry and Michael Cassidy were all involved before Sludden struck from a difficult angle and with little space.

The Dromore man’s point edged Tyrone 0-3 to 0-2 ahead.

Turning point...

CAVAN started quite well by grabbing the first score of the game, but they struggled to break down Tyrone's blanket. And by the time Darren McCurry hit three points in a row between the 24th and 27th minutes, Tyrone were 0-9 to 0-2 ahead and never looked like loosening their grip on proceedings.



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