Tyrone's Brian Kennedy is tackled by Eoghan Ban Gallagher. Lorcan Doherty/INPHO
in control

Donegal make a statement in victory over meek Tyrone

Donegal were seven-point winners in Ballybofey.

Donegal 0-21

Tyrone 0-14

SOMETIMES A TEAM sends out the kind of signal that they have just taken over and make no apologies for it.

Donegal under Jim McGuinness came into this Group 3 round robin opener against Tyrone as Ulster champions. They also came with McGuinness’ record in Ballybofey; it now stretched to 16 games unbeaten at this venue.

It turned ugly for Tyrone. It felt competitive, it felt like they were in the game, until they weren’t. You’d think that was when the margin grew big enough and the time allotted shrank enough.

It didn’t even take that long. Such was the control Donegal were in, that Tyrone felt like they were hanging on. To see Matthew Donnelly keep going until the end, when so few were matching his levels, was to see the final stages of a career play out with reservoirs of pride, but a shallow team around him.

Tyrone will not be winning much this year, nor in a year or two to come, until the All Ireland winning team of the previous weekend come on stream.

All this talk of Tyrone is not to diminish Donegal’s role in the evening. But they will be talked about plenty in the weeks to come.

With Cork and Clare left, they will certainly top the group and set themselves up for a charge at the knockout stages.

Will they win games in Croke Park? That would be the question hanging over them. But they have the footballers, of that there is no question, and they have sharp management.

In Peader Mogan, they have a man in Footballer of the Year territory. His pace is an incredible weapon but for a compact man, his durability is insane. On 66 minutes here, goalkeeper Shaun Patton was dawdling on the ball, waiting for a move to happen in front of him.

Mogan made the break and was racing past Patton. Kieran McGeary was half a step behind Mogan. There was no way he was catching him. Mogan took the ball and stuffed it over the bar to make it 0-18 to 0-13.

It turned ugly for Tyrone, but the question that Red Hands fans might ask is when did their footballers become so meek? In years past, this contest would have been disrupted, with mini-melees and a good old bit of needle thrown in.

Here, it was all so harmless.

Tyrone opened up with a Darragh Canavan free from a narrow angle and a massive boot from Darren McCurry’s right foot – a new string to his bow.

Donegal got motoring with four on the bounce; Jason McGee, Ciaran Thompson leaving Michael O’Neill floundering, Oisin Gallen, and then when a McCurry free struck the Donegal post, they turned that into an attack that Peader Mogan finished off.

At this point Donegal looked irresistible. Daire ÓBaoill and Eoghan Bán Gallagher both had early, half-chance looks about a goal, the Tyrone attack was misfiring and Ryan McHugh got himself on the ball 14 times in the opening quarter despite being man-marked by Seanie O’Donnell.

jim-mcguinness Jim McGuinness. Lorcan Doherty / INPHO Lorcan Doherty / INPHO / INPHO

But Tyrone were slowing muscling in on things. A turnover on Patrick McBrearty by Padraig Hampsey led to a lightning raid upfield and Darragh Canavan had an effort from distance that was just to the left of top bins.

Donegal had a period of listing for a bit, and for ten minutes were kept in touch by three frees. One was highly questionable when Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan claimed a high ball. On huis way down he was undoubtedly fouled which led to a tumble, but referee Joe McQuillan ruled that her touched the ball on the ground; Gallen converted.

Despite that mini-spell of Tyrone pressure, Donegal went in at the break ahead 0-10 to 0-9.

And that’s as good as it got for the visitors. Ryan McHugh opened the scoring for the second half and Donegal outscored Tyrone 0-6 to 0-2 in the third quarter.

Even allowing for two consecutive Red Hands scores, Donegal still kept clipping over the points from the hour mark hit 0-5, Tyrone’s only response coming from a Darragh Canavan free.

It was by any stretch, a serious good evening’s work by the Donegal defence. Ruairí Canavan was taken off. Darragh Canavan scoreless from play. Darren McCurry taken off. Cathal McShane could not make anything stick.

Ten different Donegal players scored, Michael Langan earning a warm cheer for his late point. Jason McGee alongside him ruled the midfield exchanges. Mogan and Ryan McHugh are two spritely dervishes. Patton was as assured as ever.

They have so much going for them, and they carry a higher level of professionalism than any other side about at the minute.

After the game, Donegal did not partake of media duties at the ground. Instead, they said that anyone could make their way out to their training ground in Convoy, where they were doing a recovery session.

They aren’t messing about.

Scorers for Donegal: Oisin Gallen 0-7 (5f), Peader Mogan 0-3, Patrick McBrearty 0-2 (1f), Ciaran Thompson 0-2 (1m), Jason McGee 0-2, Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Michael Langan, Shane O’Donnell, Odhran Doherty 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tyrone: Darren McCurry 0-4 (1m, 1f), Kieran McGeary 0-3, Darragh Canavan 0-3 (3f), Niall Devlin, Matthew Donnelly, Sean O’Donnell 0-1 each, Niall Morgan 0-1 (1f).


1. Shaun Patton (St Eunan’s)

25. Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Killybegs) 3. Brendan McCole (St Naul’s) 4. Ciaran Moore (St Eunan’s)

5. Ryan McHugh (Kilcar) 6. Caolan McGonagle (Buncrana) 25. Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Killybegs)

8. Jason McGee (Cloich Ceann Fhaola) 9. Michael Langan (St Michael’s)

10. Shane O’Donnell (St Eunan’s) 11. Ciaran Thompson (Naomh Conaill) 12. Daire ÓBaoill (Gaoth Dobhair)

7. Peadar Mogan (St Naul’s) 14. Oisin Gallen (Ballybofey) 15. Niall O’Donnell (St Eunan’s)


19. Odhran Doherty (Naomh Conaill) for ÓBaoill (45)

23. Jamie Brennan (Bundoran) for McBrearty (55)

24. Aaron Doherty (Naomh Columba) for Niall O’Donnell (62)

21. Jack McKelvey (Naomh Conaill) for Gallagher (66)

20. Domhnall MacGiolla Bhride (Gaoth Dobhair) for Gallen (69)


1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2. Niall Devlin (Coalisland) 3. Pádraig Hampsey (Coalisland) 4. Michael McKernan (Coalisland)

5. Ben Cullen (Edendork) 6. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick) 7. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)

8. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan) 9. Conn Kilpatrick (Ededork)

10. Ciaran Daly (Trillick) 11. Michael O’Neill (Trillick) 12. Sean O’Donnell (Trillick)

13. Darren McCurry (Edendork) 14. Darragh Canavan (Errigal Ciaran) 15. Ruairí Canavan (Errigal Ciaran)


24. Joe Oguz (Errigal Ciaran) for Ruairí Canavan (HT)

25. Cormac Quinn (Errigal Ciaran) for Cullen (HT)

23. Cathal McShane (Leckpatrick) for McCurry (51)

19. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran) for Kilpatrick (58)

22. Lorcan McGarrity (Carrickmore) for O’Neill (66)

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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