Darren McCurry’s perfect 10 helps Tyrone dethrone Ulster champions Cavan

Cathal McShane scores with his first touch after 18 months out with injury

Tyrone 1-18 Cavan 0-13

Cathal McShane’s first appearance in 18 months provided a generous dose of much-needed optimism as Tyrone swept aside defending champions Cavan to reach the Ulster SFC semi-final.

McShane came off the bench in the second-half to confirm his full recovery from a serious ankle injury by kicking three scores to add to a 10-point haul from the in-form Darren McCurry.

Brian Kennedy’s 40th minute goal delivered the killer blow to a flagging Cavan as their challenge faded at Healy Park.


“Darren is a consummate professional, he looks after himself top to bottom, he’s totally committed, and myself and Brian (Dooher) and everybody in the set-up are very impressed with Darren, and I hope he keeps going,” said joint-manager Feargal Logan.

He also expressed delight at the return of former All-Star full forward McShane, whose addition to the frontline could represent a turning point for a Red Hand side searching for redemption following a harrowing League loss to Kerry.

“For Cathal, it’s great to get some game time. He had a long, lonely trek for a year and a half, and he was edging to go even back at League time.

“He did well today, got a few points, and it’s great for everybody that Cathal is back on board and for him in particular after such a horrific injury.”

There was nothing to separate the sides in the opening 25 minutes as Cavan unearthed the spirit of 2020 and rediscovered the drive that had deserted them during this year’s League.

McCurry's flawless left boot was the weapon that kept Tyrone's noses in front for the most part, although the visitors did sneak ahead briefly on a couple of occasions, through Thomas Galligan and Gearoid McKiernan.

But Tyrone stepped on the gas and pulled away in the closing stages of the half, hitting five on the spin, including a couple of delightful McCurry efforts from play, and long range scores by Niall Sludden and Peter Harte to lead by 0-11 to 0-7 at the break.

And five minutes into the second-half, substitute Brian Kennedy powered through the middle to take Mattie Donnelly's pass and finish low to the net past All-Star 'keeper Raymond Galligan for the only goal of the game.

It was a hammer blow that Cavan were unable to recover from, and Tyrone received a further boost as McShane came off the bench to end an 18-month injury nightmare, kicking a point with his first touch.

McCurry pushed them nine clear, and McShane added a couple more to hasten his rehabilitation.

McKiernan kept Cavan ticking with free kicks, and substitute Conor Smith struck a couple of scores, but they didn't have the firepower to save this one.

And despite the straight red card dismissal of Tyrone full back Ronan McNamee, Cavan’s route one approach in the closing stages brought little joy as the home side got the job done with little fuss.

TYRONE: N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; R Brennan, M O'Neill, P Harte (0-1); R Donnelly (0-1), C Kilpatrick; K McGeary, N Sludden (0-2), C Meyler; D McCurry (0-10, five frees), M Donnelly, P Donaghy (0-1).

Subs: B Kennedy (1-0) for R Donnelly (35+1 mins), T McCann for McGeary (h-t), C McShane (0-3, one free) for Donaghy (47), F Burns for Sludden (50), M Bradley for Brennan (68), B McDonnell for McKernan (72)

CAVAN: R Galligan (0-1, free); K Clarke, P Faulkner, C Reilly; B O'Connell, K Brady, J McLoughlin; T Galligan (0-1), C Moynagh; G Smith (0-1), G McKiernan (0-6, four frees), O Kiernan; O Pierson (0-1), O Brady, M Reilly.

Subs: L Fortune for Reilly (29 mins), C Smith (0-2) for Brady, C Madden (0-1) for Moynagh (both h-t), C Brady for M Reilly (46), C Conroy for Pierson (55)

Referee: D Gough (Meath).