Tyrone 1-13 Cavan 1-11
Red-hot favourites Tyrone won the Ulster title today in Clones, but had to battle hard to hold off a determined Cavan side.
Tyrone started the brighter of the two teams, sweeping into a three point lead and being denied a blatant penalty all within the opening five minutes. Gradually though Cavan came into the game, and with their tactic of playing Jason Reilly as an isolated full-forward beginning to work a treat, they tied the game up through points from Peter Reilly, Paul Galligan and Dermot McCabe. Tyrone briefly reclaimed the initiative when Eoin Mulligan picked up a loose ball and passed from the end line across the face of the goal for Cormac McAnallen to fist to the net.
But the game really sparked into life shortly before half-time with an action packed few minutes of play. First Jason Reilly picked up a long ball out wide, blazed a trail for goal leaving defenders in his wake, and scored left footed at Finbarr McConnell's near post. It was the first time Cavan had lead in the match, but they nearly lost that advantage straight away, when Gerard Cavlan went through only to see his shot rattle the underside of the crossbar and stay out. Cavan's quick counter attack saw Jason Reilly land another point to stretch their lead. Peter Canavan managed to briefly stem the tide, but two terrific points by wing back Anthony Forde and Galligan saw them lead by three points at the break, 1-8 to 1-5.
But Tyrone wiped out both Cavan's lead and momentum within minutes of the restart, with Stephen O'Neill and Cavlan (2) landing points in quick succession. Canavan and Finbarr Reilly swapped points, but Cavan then failed to raise a flag for the next 21 minutes. After Dermot McCrossan scored a long-range point to level it Tyrone looked the more likely to grind out the necessary scores, and so it proved. Points from O'Neill (2) and sub Eoin Gormley wrapped up the game and the title, but it was far from the walk in the park predicted by many experts.
Tyrone: S O’Neill 0-4 (0-1 free), P Canavan 0-3 (0-2 free), C McAnallen 1-0, G Cavlan 0-2, B Dooher 0-1, K Hughes 0-1, D McCrossan 0-1, E Gormley 0-1
Cavan: J Reilly 1-1, P Reilly 0-3 (0-3 free), F O’Reilly 0-3 (0-3 free), P Galligan 0-2, D McCabe 0-1 (0-1 free), A Forde 0-1
Filed by Pat Nugent