Cavanagh guides Tyrone to Monaghan clash

Mickey Harte’s men made to sweat by Meath but midfielder’s frees get them over the line

Tyrone 0-17 Meath 2-09: Tyrone found a way through to the quarter-finals but Meath made them sweat on it right up to the end at Croke Park.

While Mickey Harte's side eventually took a 0-17 to 2-9 win back up the road with them, they needed a tremendous display of free-taking from Seán Cavanagh to get to themselves into the championship draw that moments after the final whistle pitted them against the Ulster champions Monaghan.

In general play, there was very little to separate them.

Meath show plenty of the brio that kept them in the Leinster final for such long periods. They started the game much the busier and had a goal on the board after just six minutes.

Their pacy wing-forward Eamonn Wallace overlapped perfectly to collect a pass off the shoulder of Michael Newman and having burned off the Tyrone cover, his finish gave Packie McConnell no chance.

Though it put Meath 1-0 to 0-0 up, they had to wait until a minute short of half-time for their next score from play. When it came it was a Stephen Bray miracle point, kicked from the sideline under the Cusack Stand and just about managing to drop inside the post against the wind.

It was badly needed because by that stage, Tyrone were in danger of disappearing off into the middle distance. In between times, Tyrone had settled the game right down and taken the sting out of Meath’s opening.

Meath conceded some needless frees to allow Seán Cavanagh and Darren McCurry put Tyrone on the board, and when the former knocked over two beauties from play – both the result of him buying space for himself with his trademark dummy – Tyrone were 0-9 to 1-3 ahead.

Meath had only the place-kicking of Michael Newman to thank for keeping them in touch. And even after Bray brought the margin back to two, Tyrone finished the half with a fine Mattie Donnelly point and a 45 from McCurry.

It meant they were 0-11 to 1-4 ahead at the break.

Meath, though, were back to within a point when Newman smashed home a penalty four minutes into the second half.

Wallace was outstanding in the second half and he scored two points on the spin to put Meath 2-7 to 0-12 ahead on 51 minutes.

Tyrone replied with four in a row to go 0-16 to 2-7 ahead but Wallace and Newman pulled Meath back into it. But it was fitting that Cavanagh finished the game off with spiralling free on 70 minutes to give Tyrone the two-point win.

Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keogan, K Reilly, B Menton; P Harnan, M Burke, S Kenny; B Meade, C Gillespie; E Wallace (1-3), D Carroll, G Reilly; S Bray (0-1), J Sheridan, M Newman (1-5, 1-0 pen, 0-4 frees, 0-1 45).

Substitutions: B Farrell for Sheridan, 42 mins; P Byrne for Carroll, 51 mins; A Tormey for Meade, 53 mins; C Lenihan for Kenny, 65 mins

Tyrone: P McConnell; R McKenna, C Clarke, C McCarron; C McGinley, P Harte, C Gormley; C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-8, 0-6 frees); Matthew Donnelly (0-2), Mark Donnelly, J McMahon; D McCurry (0-5, 0-3 frees, 0-1 45), S O'Neill (0-1), M Penrose.

Substitutions: A Cassidy (0-1) for Mark Donnelly, half-time; D Carlin for McKenna, 51 mins; K Coney for Penrose, 65 mins; P McNeice for C Cavanagh, 70 mins

Referee: M Deegan (Laois)