Tyrone retained the Dr. McKenna Cup on Wednesday night following a hard fought 7 point win over Cavan in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.
Three weeks after the final was originally meant to have taken place and a couple of venue changes later, both teams had the experience of getting two league games over them with Tyrone having the extra advantage of meeting Division 1 teams Mayo and Derry. However, with the Sigerson finals on this weekend, Tyrone had to play the game without ace forwards Connor McAliskey, Ronan O’Neill and Mattie Donnelly who were all in action for UUJ and Darren McCurry who was out through flu. But with the inclusion of Mark Donnelly, Sean Cavanagh, PJ Quinn and Kyle Coney, who all made their first McKenna Cup starts this year, it meant that there was more than enough quality to replace them with.
Cavan started the game, and indeed the first half, the strongest with points from Bernard Dunne and Eugene Keatings putting them into a 3 point to no score lead. Niall Morgan scored a few frees to keep Tyrone in contention but Cavan continued to tackle and play hard and points from Keatings put them 0-08 to 0-04 ahead with HT approaching. A tap in goal from Plunkett Kane following some good work from Mark Donnelly allowed Tyrone to go in level at the break.
Tyrone played with the breeze in the second half and started with great gusto – Paddy McNiece broke free on two occasions only to see the ball go narrowly over the crossbar rather than into the back of the net. Cavan, down to 14 men by this stage, were now finding to difficult to control the power of Sean Cavanagh in midfield, the pacey runs of PJ Lavery and the shooting power of Kyle Coney and they ran out comfortable winners by 7 points on the night and Dr McKenna Cup winners for the third successive year.
Full time score; Tyrone 1-15 Cavan 0-11.
Below are my pics from the game.
Tyrone are holders of the Dr McKenna Cup for the third year in a row.
The Tyrone starting fifteen players on Wednesday night.
Martin Dunne knocks over an early score.
Ryan McKenna in command in the back line for Tyrone.