Tyrone pulled clear of the Division One drop zone with a 1-15 to 0-9 win over Cavan at Healy Park.
Peter Harte’s 51st minute goal saw Tyrone pull away and end the resistance of the 14-man Breffni side, whch had Killian Clarke sent off early in the second half.
A fourth defeat in five outings leaves Mickey Graham’s side in deep trouble, and facing a massive task in avoiding the drop straight back to Division Two of the NFL.
Clarke used his game intelligence to get back and make an important intercept, and the Breffni men broke for Jack Brady to edge them ahead from a free.
But the Red Hands, playing with the gusting wind in their backs, soon got into their stride, raiding from deep with pace, Connor McAliskeu, making his first start fo the season, with a free, getting them going, before Niall Sludden clipped over a neat score.
Cathal McShane’s mark made it 0-3 to 0-1 by the tenth minute, and as they dropped back in numbers, the home side presented their opponents with a double cordon of defenders which they struggled to break down.
Tiernan McCann’s perfectly timed and executed tackle to turn over possession was the perfect example of the intensity that Tyrone brought to the early stages of this contest.
They were always dangerous on the breakaway, bit the workrate of Dara McVeety helped the Breffni men survive as they were caught short of numbers at the back.
Mattie Donnelly presented a constant threat, winning the free that McAliskey converted for a four points advantage, and while Cavan had gone almost 20 minutes without a score before Martin Reilly nailed a free, they were happy enough to be just three behind, given the breeze blowing in their faces.
With Conor Moynagh and Christopher Conroy standing firm, Mickey Graham’s men held out against a Tyrone side struggling to find the openings their approach play was threatening, but Donnelly’s surge created a score for Kieran McGeary, and points form Harte and Sludden gave them some breathing space at the break, 0-8 to 0-4.
Midfielder Clarke, one of Cavan’s key figures, picked up second booking less than two minutes into the second half, and they faced a virtually impossible task with 14 men.
McAliskey and Frank Burns tagged on points and it was the creativity and vision of substitute Darren McCurry that carved the opening for Harte to fire his shot to the bottom corner of Raymond Galligan’s net for the only goal of the game.
Another replacement, Kyle Coney, added a spectacular score, and the Red Hands were soon ten points clear.
But with Cavan dropping men back in a damage limitation exercise, Tyrone were unable to express themselves to the full extent of their attacking capabilities, and managed just four points in the final quarter.
Corner back Hugh Pat McGeary exploited space to pick off a couple of scores, and with Mattie Donnelly making forceful runs at the Cavan defence, they added another, with Harte bringing his tally to 1-3.
Cavan substitute Cian Mackey pulled back three points, including one of the two they managed from play in the entire game, but there was never any doubt about the outcome.
Tyrone: N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, HP McGeary (0-02); T McCann, F Burns (0-01), C Meyler, B McDonnell, R Donnelly; M Donnelly (0-01, f), N Sludden (0-02), K McGeary (0-01); C McAliskey (0-03, 3f), C McShane (0-01, m), P Harte (1-03, 0-3f).
Subs: D McCurry for McAliskey (44), K Coney (0-01) for McShane (45), H Loughran for K McGeary (53), L Brennan for McNamee (58), R Brennan for Hampsey (60)
Cavan: R Galligan (0-01); J McLoughlin, P Faulkner, C Moynagh; C Brady, C Conroy, C Rehill; P Graham, K Clarke; M Reilly (0-01), D McVeety (0-01), N Murray; N Clerkin, J Brady (0-02, 2f), C Madden.
Subs: G Smith for Clerkin (h-t), T Galligan for Graham (h-t), N McKiernan (0-01, f) for Brady (48), C Mackey (0-03, 2f) for Conroy (53), S Murray for N Murray (66)
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).