NOT for the first time in this Qualifier run, Tyrone had to dig deep to secure their passage to the next round following a 0-18 to 1-12 win over Cavan at Brewster Park.
Mickey Harte’s side fended off a spirited Cavan fightback to secure a place in Monday’s round four draw with Roscommon, Cork, Fermanagh or Laois now standing between them and a spot in the Super 8s.
The drama of the second half, when Mattie McGleenan’s Cavan drew level on a number of occasions, looked unlikely as Tyrone surged ahead in the first half.
They started the game in impressive fashion and had built up a commanding 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 10th minute.
Team captain Mattie Donnelly powered through to fire them in front inside 30 second before Peter Harte doubled their advantage with a close-range free.
Ciaran Brady got Cavan off the mark before points from Niall Sludden and Tiernan McCann gave the Red Hands an early foothold.
The Breffnimen were starting to come into the game though and a fine point from Dara McVeety, who won an appeal against suspension on Thursday night, and scores from Killian Clarke and Gearoid McKiernan had the sides level by the 14th minute.
The sides traded scores through Frank Burns and McVeety, before Tyrone made the charge that would give them a four-point interval advantage.
Cathal McShane pointed after a fine team move before McCann grabbed his second after McShane intercepted a poor James Farrelly kick-out.
The Tyrone defenders were continually forcing turn-overs at the back, and that allowed them to tag on further scores from McShane and Mattie Donnelly to leave Harte’s side 0-9 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
That lead became five in the 37th minute when Connor McAliskey opened his account with an easy free, but they were rocked back as Cavan then hit 1-2 without reply.
The brilliant McKiernan landed a free before Martin Reilly beat Red Hand goalkeeper Michael O’Neill to the jump to palm the ball to the net.
That brought them to within a point and they drew level when McKiernan landed the score of the night. The Swanlinbar native won a monster mark, played a one-two and landed from distance to raise the temperature in Enniskillen.
Tyrone responded with a Ronan O’Neill free and a Sludden point, but back Cavan came with scores from Oisin Kiernan and Seanie Johnston.
The momentum was with Cavan but Colm Cavanagh and Peter Harte both lifted their game, and one of Harte’s drives allowed Richie Donnelly to point.
Conor Moynagh drew the sides level again, but points from O’Neill (2) Frank Burns and Harte put Tyrone four ahead with time running out.
Two points from McKiernan either side of a Sludden score, kept Cavan in touch, but they were unable to garb a second goal and finished with 14 men after Ciaran Brady’s late dismissal.
TYRONE received a hero’s welcome at a rather informal homecoming at Healy Park this evening, 24 hours after All-Ireland...