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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 24 February 2021
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Ulster champions Donegal come out on top in Ballybofey battle and knock Tyrone out

A two-point win in torrid conditions saw Declan Bonner’s men end the Red Hand’s year.

Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann with Donegal’s Ciaran Thompson.
Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann with Donegal’s Ciaran Thompson.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Donegal 1-13

Tyrone 1-11

Declan Bogue reports from MacCumhaill Pairc

A MUCH MORE economical and businesslike Donegal pushed aside Tyrone in this Ulster quarter-final, repeating the pattern of almost every championship meeting of this pair over the past decade.

Played in simply dreadful conditions the handling was near impossible, forcing dozens of turnovers when either team threatened to get in towards the shooting zone.

On such days, certain values apply. Scores are not going to be plentiful, so you need your free-takers bang on form. Donegal — eyeing three-in-a-row in Ulster — had that with man-of-the-match Ciaran Thompson, who hit six points overall, five of them from placed balls.

He was aided in that regard by some crazy Tyrone indiscipline that saw two tricky looking frees moved in for backchat or an offence closer to goal. The Naomh Conaill man made no mistake in both cases.

Tyrone opened brighter, scoring the first when Darren McCurry snaffled a Shaun Patton kickout to point, following it up with a free and a Matthew Donnelly point.

Tyrone’s Conor McKenna was the subject of extreme close marking from Neil McGee, much to the disgust of the Tyrone bench and management. McKenna allowed himself a cheer when he pointed a difficult free in response.

After the water break, Donegal put together a strong run, a Michael Langan point coming just before the first goal. A Patton kickout cleared all the cover, Peader Mogan collected and dished off to Langan to slot home. Jamie Brennan picked Ronan McNamee’s pocket for a neat point and Paul Brennan finished another move, the score in Donegal’s favour at the break, 1-5 to 0-6.

Tyrone pulled a goal back on 43 minutes. A bit of indulgence at the back led Patton to chance a handpass to Eoghan Ban Gallagher who lost his footing at the wrong time. Darragh Canavan was on hand to snap up the ball and roll to the net to gain the lead.

michael-murphy-with-brian-kennedy-1112020 Donegal’s Michael Murphy with Brian Kennedy of Tyrone. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

That came just before Donegal rolled four points together to let them assume control, from Brennan, two from Thompson and Peader Mogan.

By contrast, Tyrone threw away possession carelessly and took off their two scoring forwards in Darren McCurry and Canavan. They ended this campaign like many others, the story is starting to look more than dated.

Scorers for Donegal: C Thompson 0-7, 5f, M Langan 1-2, J Brennan 0-2, P Brennan, O Gallen 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tyrone: D Canavan 1-1, D McCurry 0-3, 1f, F Burns 0-1, N Morgan 0-1 ’45′, M Donnelly 0-1, C McKenna 0-1f.

Donegal

1. Shaun Patton (St Eunan’s)

2. Stephen McMenamin (Red Hughs)
3. Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)
4. Eoghan Ban Gallagher (Killybegs)

5. Ryan McHugh (Kilcar)
6. Paul Brennan (Bundoran)
21. Jeaic McKelvey (Naomh Conaill)

8. Hugh McFadden (Killybegs)
19. Caolan McGonigle (Buncrana)

10. Ciaran Thompson (Naomh Conaill)
11. Niall O’Donnell (St Eunan’s)
12. Michael Langan (St Michael’s)

7. Peader Mogan (St Naul’s)
14. Michael Murphy (Glenswilly)
15. Jamie Brennan (Bundoran)

Subs: E McHugh for McKelvey 24m, A McClean for McGee (HT), O Gallen for O’Donnell (44m), P McGrath for P Brennan (54m), J McGee for McGonigle (71m).

Tyrone

1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2. Liam Rafferty (Galbally)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran)
7. Michael McKernan (Coalisland)

5. Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher)
6. Michael O’Neill (Ardboe)
12. Conor Meyler (Omagh)

8. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan)
9. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick)

10. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)
11. Conor McKenna (Eglish)
18. Frank Burns (Pomeroy)

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

Subs: M Bradley for McCurry (50m), R Donnelly for O’Neill (53m), P Hampsey for Kennedy (56m), N Sludden for Canavan (64m).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

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About the author:

Declan Bogue

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