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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019


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TWO INTO ONE doesn’t go.

By 7pm this evening*, one of two Ulster heavyweights will be licking their lips at the prospect of a return to the Ulster final; the other will be facing the long road back towards the Super 8s via the qualifiers.

But will it be Donegal or Tyrone who put a real peg in the ground as they look ahead towards July and August?

(*Given what the Ulster championship has served up in the last few weeks, it might be best not to put an exact time on this…)

Throw-in at Breffni Park is at 5pm.

TEAM NEWS: Two late changes to the Donegal team named earlier this week — Eoin McHugh starts at centre-back in place of Daire Ó Baoill, and Niall O’Donnell comes in for Ciaran Thompson at wing-forward.


1. Shaun Patton (St Eunan’s)

2. Paddy McGrath (Ardara)
3. Neil McGee (Gweedore)
4. Stephen McMenamin

5. Ryan McHugh (Kilcar)
19. Eoin McHugh (Kilcar)
7. Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Killybegs)

8. Hugh McFadden (Killybegs)
9. Jason McGee (Cloughaneely)

18. Niall O’Donnell (St Eunan’s)
11. Leo McLoone (Naomh Conaill)
12. Jamie Brennan (Bundoran)

13. Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
14. Michael Murphy (Glenswilly)
15. Michael Langan (St Michael’s)

TEAM NEWS: Not to be outdone, Mickey Harte makes three late changes to his named Tyrone team.

Brian Kennedy, Kieran McGeary and Liam Rafferty all start; Michael Cassidy, Niall Sludden and Connor McAliskey are the three to make way.


1. Niall Morgan (Edendork)

2. Padraig Hampsey (Coalisland)
3. Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran)
4. Michael McKernan (Coalisland)

5. Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher)
6. Ben McDonnell (Errigal Ciaran)
20. Brian Kennedy (Derrylaughan)

8. Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
9. Richard Donnelly (Trillick)

10. Matthew Donnelly (Trillick)
25. Kieran McGeary (Pomeroy)
12. Frank Burns (Pomeroy)

13. Cathal McShane (Owen Roe’s)
14. Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran)
26. Liam Rafferty (Galbally)

In the RTÉ studio, Colm O’Rourke has given Tyrone the nod ever-so-slightly, while Joe Brolly is running the risk of getting splinters from the fence he’s perched on, refusing to come down on one side or the other.

The line before throw-in is two points in Tyrone’s favour.

Who do you fancy?


THROW-IN: David Gough gets us underway in Breffni Park.


14 seconds — Tyrone 0-1 Donegal 0-0: Tyrone let the ball into the full-forwards quickly. McShane pops it off to Mattie Donnelly and he curls his shot over the bar before Stephen McMenamin can get out to block.


2 mins – Eoin McHugh’s shot drifts wide but the umpire has his arm up and Michael Murphy will have a 45 to level it.


3 mins — Tyrone 0-1 Donegal 0-1: With the breeze at his back, Murphy knocks it over. All square.


4 mins — Tyrone 0-2 Donegal 0-1: Fine score from Richie Donnelly, and again, McShane is the link man setting it up for him.


GOAL FOR DONEGAL! Donegal 1-1 Tyrone 0-2 (Brennan, 4′)

First blood Donegal! They slice through the middle of the Tyrone defence and Eoghan Bán Gallagher pops a hand pass into Jamie Brennan’s path. He makes an angle for himself and finishes low past Morgan in the Tyrone goal.


6 mins — Donegal 1-2 Tyrone 0-3: Jamie Brennan follows up with a point to quickly take his personal tally to 1-1 early on. 

Tyrone respond though, and very nearly have a goal of their own, before Kieran McGeary points to bring them back within two.


8 mins — Donegal 1-3 Tyrone 0-3: And again, Jamie Brennan gets the better of his man, and sticks over another point for Donegal. 1-2 inside the opening eight minutes… not bad going!


11 mins — BLACK CARD! Peter Harte with a sloppy tackle on Ryan McHugh. He clips him, and David Gough rules it to be a trip. Harte is off to the line and that’s another huge blow for Tyrone in these opening exchanges.


12 mins — Black card sub: Connor McAliskey comes on in place of Peter Harte.


13 mins – A break in play here while both Niall Morgan and Jason McGee receive treatment for two separate incidents. Morgan is up on his feet, and it looks like McGee will be ok to continue as well.


15 mins – Open contest so far. Tyrone have started without a sweeper, by the looks of things, while Hugh McFadden is dropping a bit deeper than midfield for Donegal.


16 mins — Donegal sub: It’s an early end to the afternoon for Jason McGee; he hobbles off and Ciaran Thompson comes on in his place.


17 mins — DONEGAL HIT THE POST! Jamie Brennan gets in behind and fires across the face of Niall Morgan’s goal. It beats the keeper but clatters the post and bounces clear. A let-off for Tyrone!


18 mins — Donegal 1-3 Tyrone 0-4: That’s a big swing in the space of a few seconds. Tyrone come straight back down the field and Cathal McShane points.

What could so easily have been a six-point game is a two-point game instead.


19 mins – Michael Murphy pulls what looks to be a relatively straightforward free to a right and wide. The kind you’d expect him to score.


21 mins — Donegal 1-4 Tyrone 0-4: Murphy makes quick amends, splitting the posts. Donegal’s lead is three again.


23 mins – Good defending from Donegal before Eoin McHugh gets a hand in on Cathal McShane and slaps the ball cleanly away.


26 mins – Kieran McGeary runs into traffic and Tyrone turn possession over, but they work well to win it back and Liam Rafferty tries his luck from the right. Wide — Tyrone’s second of the day.


27 mins — SAVE! Big chance for Tyrone as Brian Kennedy bears down on the Donegal goal. He keeps his shot low but it’s too close to Shaun Patton and the Donegal keeper stretches out a boot to stop it.


28 mins – Michael Murphy sizes up another 45 but like his last dead ball, this one goes right and wide again. There is a breeze in Donegal’s favour here in this first half which may be making conditions a little trickier.


31 mins — Donegal 1-5 Tyrone 0-4: Michael Langan gets his first of the day as the half-time break approaches.


33 mins — Donegal 1-6 Tyrone 0-4: Donegal just starting to turn the screw here and stretch their lead. Michael Langan is fouled in a good position and it’s a handy free for Michael Murphy.


35 mins — Donegal 1-6 Tyrone 0-5: Niall Morgan has a tricky free into the wind, but points it.


35 mins — Donegal 1-7 Tyrone 0-5: Eoin McHugh hangs one up in the air and you can tell by the cheers of the Donegal fans that it’s dropping down and over the bar.


35+2 mins – We’re into the second of five additional minutes here.


35+3 mins — Donegal 1-8 Tyrone 0-5: It was Jamie Brennan who got Donegal off to a flying start, and it’s fitting that it’s Jamie Brennan that gets in on the act again as we head to the break. Another wonderful score on the turn.


35+3 mins — SAVE! Chance for Richie Donnelly but Shaun Patton is equal to it again. He’s made a few crucial stops in this first half.


35+4 mins — Donegal 1-9 Tyrone 0-5: Donegal hold up possession briefly as Michael Murphy positions himself on the edge of the square. Eoghan Ban Gallagher drops it in on top of him, and Murphy turns and points.


HALF TIME: Donegal 1-9 Tyrone 0-5


“Generally speaking, Donegal are feasting on Tyrone now,” says Joe Brolly.

How’s that for half-time analysis?


SECOND HALF: Back underway in Breffni Park. Can Tyrone turn this around?


36 mins — Sub: Niall Sludden in for Colm Cavanagh at the break; for Donegal, Rory Brennan replaces Liam Rafferty.


36 mins – Tricky opening free for Cathal McShane – not the easiest position for a right-footer – but he miscues badly and skews it well wide.


38 mins — Donegal 1-9 Tyrone 0-6: McShane gets another chance from a free and this one is in a marginally easier position; he scores.


40 mins – Driving run from Eoghan Bán Gallagher gets Donegal into position. It comes back to Paddy McBrearty but he shoots right and wide. Donegal’s fourth of the afternoon.

Donegal sub: Gweedore’s Daire Ó Baoill replaces Eoin McHugh at centre-back.


41 mins — Tyrone sub: Darren McCurry replaces Ben McDonnell.

The attendance this evening, for anyone interested, is 13,579.


42 mins — Donegal 1-9 Tyrone 0-7: Neat little one-two by Tyrone and Kieran McGeary points. Tyrone are pushing up and pressing high in the Donegal half of the pitch.


43 mins – Tiernan McCann might find himself in a spot of trouble next week. There was a scuffle with Stephen McMenamin on the ground, and the TV replays show McCann’s fingers too close to McMenamin’s mouth. No action taken by David Gough.


46 mins – Michael Murphy pulls another 45 wide. His radar has been a bit off with the placed balls today.


49 mins — Tyrone 1-10 Donegal 0-7: Michael Murphy knocks over a free and Donegal lead by six again.


51 mins — Donegal 1-10 Tyrone 0-8: Niall O’Donnell finds himself in David Gough’s book for a mistimed tackle. Darren McCurry points the free.


53 mins — Donegal 1-11 Tyrone 0-8: Paddy McBrearty tacks on a free for Donegal and for all of Tyrone’s efforts, they’re running to stand still at the moment.


54 mins – Here’s a still from that Tiernan McCann / Stephen McMenamin incident.



57 mins — Donegal 1-13 Tyrone 0-9: Quick flurry of scores and the end product is that Donegal’s lead stretches out to seven. Cathal McShane points a free but Donegal respond with points through Ryan McHugh and Paddy McBrearty.


59 mins — Donegal 1-13 Tyrone 0-11: Darren McCurry points from play, Cathal McShane adds another free and Tyrone are doing just enough to keep this interesting.


62 mins — Donegal 1-14 Tyrone 0-11: After a relatively quiet opening 50 minutes (in scoring terms, if nothing else), Paddy McBrearty has exploded to life. He takes the return pass from Michael Murphy and points his third of the half.


65 mins – Half-chance for Rory Brennan but Hugh McFadden dives across him to block and gets a touch as it goes behind.


66 mins — Donegal 1-14 Tyrone 0-12: Niall Morgan points the resulting 45. Five in it.


68 mins — Donegal 1-15 Tyrone 0-12: Hugh McFadden kicks a point to stretch Donegal’s lead to six and surely that gives them the cushion they’ll need to see themselves through to an Ulster final against either Armagh or Cavan.


70 mins – Six additional minutes but barring some late fireworks — and a couple of Tyrone goals — it won’t make much difference to the final reckoning.


70+2 mins — Donegal 1-15 Tyrone 0-13: Darren McCurry nudges Tyrone a bit closer but Donegal have always had them at arm’s length, really.


70+3 mins — Donegal 1-15 Tyrone 0-14: Richie Donnelly’s effort kisses the upright and drops over Shaun Patton’s crossbar. Four points in it now and just about enough time left to keep the neutrals watching.


70+4 mins – Daire Ó Baoill kicks it wide for Donegal. Two minutes left…


70+5 mins — Donegal 1-15 Tyrone 0-15: Michael Cassidy wallops one over the bar. Three-point game but time’s running out…


70+6 mins — Donegal 1-16 Tyrone 0-15: Stephen McMenamin points and surely that’s Donegal over the line and into the final.

FULL TIME: Donegal 1-16 Tyrone 0-15

So that’s it in Breffni Park as Donegal, full value for their win, take their place in the Ulster SFC final.

They’ll be the ones with the keen eye on tomorrow’s meeting between Armagh and Cavan.

For Tyrone, however, it’s an early alarm on Monday morning to see who they will meet in the second round of the qualifier series.

We’ll have more reaction over the course of the evening. Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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