Harte hits out at targeting of Cavanagh

PIVOTAL...Sean Cavanagh's red card meant that Tyrone played the final 10 minutes a man down

PIVOTAL…Sean Cavanagh’s red card meant that Tyrone played the final 10 minutes a man down

TYRONE manager Mickey Harte has hit out at Mayo defender Lee Keegan for “enticing” Sean Cavanagh into the incident that led to the first of his two yellow cards in today’s All-Ireland quarter-final.

Harte was speaking in the aftermath of the county’s 0-13 to 0-12 defeat to the Connacht side at Croke Park, a match in which the Moy man was dismissed just before the hour mark.

Cavanagh received his first card after tangling with Keegan as the sides emerged for the start of the second half. His dismissal came as the sides were level on 11 points apeice and Mayo hit two of the last three scores to secure a semi-final spot with Tipperary.

“I didn’t see it so it’s unfortunate that it happened but I know this for sure that Sean Cavanagh doesn’t go looking for cards, never did in his whole career,” said the Red Hand manager.

“It’s a shame that he’s a victim of someone else enticing him into that arena. He doesn’t go looking for anything, that’s for sure.

“I know that 100 per cent and I have no fear of contradiction. He never went looking a black card or a yellow card in his life.

“It seems a shame that a man at this stage of his career who has given so much for this game can fall victim to that kind of stuff.”

Mayo had the better of the exchanges in a first half in which the sides shared 14 points.

Tyrone had kept pace and should have been in front only for some errant shooting.

Three points from play from the boot of Mattie Donnelly was the highlight of the half for Tyrone while Aidan O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor were working well at the other end, with the former drifting between midfield and full-forward.

The second half remained tight, but when Tyrone, with Peter Harte extremely prominent, kicked three points between the 47th and 53rd minute, they looked in a good position to push on.

Cavanagh’s sending off stopped any momentum though and Lee Keegan’s booming effort five minutes from time proved decisive with Morgan missing from a long-range free and McCurry shooting wide of the far post when well placed.

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