Cavan's reign as Ulster champions was brought to an end as they went down by eight points to Tyrone at Healy Park.

A ten-point haul from Darren McCurry, a Brian Kennedy goal and the return of Cathal McShane following a year-long injury nightmare provided the highlights on a pleasing afternoon for the Red Hands.

And they won comfortably despite having to play the final 20 minutes with 14 men following the dismissal of Ronan McNamee.

Tyrone led by four at half-time, and controlled the contest throughout the second period as they eased through to the last four.

Richie Donnelly landed a fine point to edge the Red Hands in front after Darren McCurry and Oisin Pierson had traded early scores.

With both sides dropping players back, the attacking fervour of the league was showing signs of tapering off, but the champions and the home side continued to create scoring chances.

The Breffni men drew level with an excellent score, lobbed over despite the pressure of a defender, by Gearoid McKiernan, and when they turned over possession, Cavan went in front in the tenth minute through Thomas Galligan.

Niall Morgan’s accurate kick-outs had a 100% success rate, pushing his side into attack, and scores from Paul Donaghy and McCurry had the Red Hands back in front.

They were level at the drinks break, thanks to Gerard Smith’s delightful score, and after McCurry had hit the target again, Tyrone stepped up the tempo, hitting the last five points of the half.

With Niall Sludden and Conor Meyler providing extra protection at the back, they closed down on the Cavan runners, forcing turnovers and getting the direct ball forward towards McCurry and Mattie Donnelly.

McCurry was on fire, both from frees and open play, bringing his first half tally to seven, while Sludden and Peter Harte also chipped in to send them into the interval leading by 0-11 to 0-7.

Darren McCurry of Tyrone scores a point

And they took a massive stride towards the semi-final when substitute Brian Kennedy fired home a goal five minutes into the second half, starting and finishing the move as he linked with Mattie Donnelly.

Now they were eight points clear, and it got even better when former All-Star full forward McShane ended an injury nightmare, coming off the bench for his first appearance in more than a year, and scoring with his first touch.

Tyrone were ahead by 1-14 to 0-9 at the second drinks break, but lost full back Ronan McNamee to a straight red card on 54 minutes after an off-the-ball push to the face of Conor Brady.

Mattie Donnelly dropped back to provide cover at the back, and the Cavan men were still struggling to break down their opponents.

The champions did pull back points through Conor Smith, Conor Madden and McKiernan, but their route-one approach could not break Tyrone's resolve.

Tyrone: N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; R Brennan, M O'Neill, P Harte (0-01); R Donnelly (0-01), C Kilpatrick; K McGeary, N Sludden (0-02), C Meyler; D McCurry (0-10, 5f), M Donnelly, P Donaghy (0-01).

Subs: B Kennedy for R Donnelly (35+1), T McCann for McGeary (h-t), C McShane (0-01) for Donaghy (47), F Burns for Sludden (50), M Bradley for Brennan (68), B McDonnell for McKernan (72)

Cavan: R Galligan (0-01, f); K Clarke, P Faulkner, C Reilly; B O’Connell, K Brady, J McLoughlin; T Galligan (0-01), C Moynagh; G Smith (0-01), G McKiernan (0-06, 4f), O Kiernan; O Pierson (0-01), O Brady, M Reilly.

Subs: L Fortune for Reilly (29), C Smith (0-02) for Brady (h-t), C Madden (0-01) for Moynagh (h-t), C Brady for M Reilly (46), C Conroy for Pierson (55)

Referee: D Gough (Meath)