Louth’s summer ended by Tyrone
The Red Hands led by 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time, four of their points coming from Darren McCurry, with teenager Ryan Burns kicking a couple of Louth scores.
After the break Emmet McKenna and Stephen O’Neill both hit the net and the floodgates opened.
McCurry (0-06), Sean Cavanagh (0-05) and Connor McAliskey (0-04 all swept over points as the home side cruised to a 17-point win.
In front of a crowd of 3,912, Darren McCurry had two points to his name within the opening two minutes as Tyrone launched themselves into the game with gusto.
And it was McCurry who won the free that Sean Cavanagh converted, before McCurry knocked over a 40 metre free of his own for a 0-4 to 0-0 lead by the seventh minute.
But there was a scare for the Red Hands when Andy McDonnell sent wing back Adrian Reid clear, but he sent his low shot zipping just wide at the far post.
McDonnell opened the Wee County’s account in the eighth minute, followed by a tidy score from teenager Ryan Burns.
The home side moved the ball with precision and speed, and a sweeping move involving McCurry, Emmet McKenna and Ciaran McGinley ended with Connor McAliskey slotting over a point.
Burns, a late pre-match replacement for Conor Grimes, was Louth’s chief threat up front, claiming his second point on 22 minutes and Grimes also joined the action to float over a gem from the left, before McDonnell made it four on the spin to narrow the gap to a single point ten minutes before the break.
Sean Cavanagh slotted over a couple of frees, but Brian White’s second free narrowed the gap to two – the home side ahead by 0-9 to 0-7 at the interval.
But the Red Hands exploded into spectacular action at the start of the second half.
Emmet McKenna appeared on Peter Harte’s shoulder to blast home a goal after just 15 seconds, and Stephen O’Neill palmed home a second five minutes later from Mattie Donnelly’s cross to the far post.
Louth were deflated and dispirited and never recovered. Indeed they crumbled under the pressure that the fast-moving Red Hands imposed on their back-pedalling opponents.
Goalkeeper Niall Morgan stepped up to steer four frees between the posts, including a ’45 conceded when his opposite number Gallagher pushed a McGinley effort around a post.
Louth abandoned their sweeper system and huge gaps opened up in a hard-pressed defence that lost two of its number – Padraig Rath and John O’Brien – to black cards.
Colm Cavanagh’s work rate was once again a feature of the Red Hand effort, and Connor McAliskey justified his recall with a fourth point from play.
Louth managed just three second half points, two of them in the dying moments, from Colm Judge and Conor Grimes.
And in another major boost to Tyrone, Joe McMahon came off the bench for his first appearance since last August’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo.
Tyrone: N Morgan (0-04, 3f, 1 ’45), A McCrory, R McNamee, PJ Quinn, R McNabb, M Donnelly, P Harte, C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh (0-05, 4f), E McKenna (1-01), S McGuigan, C McGinley (0-01), D McCurry (0-06, 3f), S O’Neill (1-00), C McAliskey (0-04).
Subs: Joe McMahon for C Cavanagh (53), P Kane for O’Neill (53), Justin McMahon for Donnelly (55), M Penrose for McCurry (59), N McKenna for S Cavanagh (66), R McKenna for Quinn (66)
Louth: N Gallagher: P Rath, D Finnegan, J Bingham, J O’Brien, D Crilly, A Reid, P Keenan, M Fanning, A McDonnell (0-02), B White (0-02, 2f), D Maguire, C Judge (0-01), S Lennon, R Burns (0-03, 1f).
Subs: C Grimes (0-02) for Lennon (19), D O’Hanlon for Rath (37, BC), C Rafferty for White (42), J Stewart for O’Brien (47, BC), K McLoughlin for McDonnell (63)
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).