All-Ireland champions Tyrone roared back into title contention, with a typical gritty display in Newry tonight, dumping Ulster rivals Down out of the Bank of Ireland SFC qualifiers with a 1-15 to 0-10 score line.

Mickey Harte's son Mark scored 0-07 (3f) and tigerish midfielder Sean Cavanagh grabbed a twelfth minute goal to set them on their way.

Having looked jaded since their National League duel with Galway in the Spring, Tyrone finally looked like title contenders, limiting the Mourne men to just two scores in the opening quarter.

Both came from frees, with Liam Doyle and Gregory McCartan replying to the Tyrone tirade, which saw the champions score 1-04 in the opening 17 minutes.

Tyrone's goal followed a poor clearance from Down back John Clarke. Stephen O'Neill collected and feed the onrushing Cavanagh who lashed home to the bottom right corner of the net. 

Another Harte free followed and Tyrone were soon five points to the good. Clarke and Martin Cole struck back for Down with long range efforts, as the rain poured down, and an Aidan O'Prey fisted point soon saw Paddy O'Rourke's men back in contention.

Liam Doyle made it a one-point game with a left wing free and although Brian McGuigan soloed through for a first score on the half hour, Doyle brought it back to 0-07 to 1-05 at the break with another.

The unusually quiet Benny Coutler made inroads after the restart, collecting a Dan Hughes offload to level. Mulligan then burst through only to see his goal shot saved by Down net minder Michael McVeigh. Colm McCullagh converted the resulting '45.

The poor weather meant scores were at a premium, but two good points from Harte, both from play, on 56 and 53 minutes kept the Tyrone machine in gear.

A six-point cushion was opened up when Mulligan and Harte pointed again nearing the hour mark, with the former being set up by Brian Dooher for a game-clinching score on 62 minutes, making it 1-13 to 0-08 to the Red Hands.

Harte completed his tally in the intervening minutes, and although Down were let in for late points through Clarke and substitute Colm McCrickard, McGuigan, with his second point, and referee Michael Monahan had the final say. 

Down: M McVeigh, M Higgins, A Molloy, A Scullion, J Clarke (0-2), M Cole (0-1), S Farrell, D Gordon, G McCartan (0-1, f), L Doyle (0-3, 2f), S Ward, R Murtagh, B Coulter (0-1), A O'Prey (0-1), D Hughes. Subs used: B Grant for Scullion, Shane Ward for McCartan C McCrickard (0-1) for Shane Ward, E McCartan for O'Prey, A Fegan for Murtagh

Tyrone: P McConnell, R McMenamin, C Gormley, C Gourley, J McMahon, S Sweeney, P Jordan, K Hughes, S Cavanagh (1-1), B Dooher, B McGuigan (0-2), G Cavlan, M Harte (0-7, 3f), O Mulligan (0-3), S O'Neill. Subs used: C McCullagh (0-2, 1f) for O'Neill

Filed by Barry McEneaney