Thanks to a fantastic second half display Donegal had a very good win over Tyrone in the Ulster Minor League in Convoy.
Donegal were fully deserving of the two point victory as over the 60 plus minutes they dominated the exchanges.
Indeed, but for conceding two first half goals, the margin would have been greater. They did so without the St. Eunan’s College contingent, while they were also without the injured Lorcan Connor and Stephen McBrearty and John McDyre.
Playing against a strong breeze in the opening half, Donegal were constantly on the front foot, thanks to the driving of Tony McClenaghan and Caolan McGonagle. McGonagle had them on the scoreboard inside a minute when Jamie Brennan was denied a goal chance at the expense of a ‘45’.
Pauric McAnenly punished an error by Donegal ‘keeper Danny Rodgers to level matters and Rodgers then failed to handle a McAnenly effort and it dropped over the crossbar.
Michael Carroll levelled again for Donegal from a free after Jamie Brennan was fouled on eight minutes but James Darcy had Tyrone back in front three minutes later.
Donegal had another goal chance on 13 minutes when Caolan McGonagle burst forward to find Niall Harley. His effort was stopped by the ‘keeper and fell to Jamie Brennan, but his first time effort from eight yards was blocked on the line.
At the other end Tyrone were more clinical with Jonah Lafferty breaking through and firing to the net from close range. Ethan O’Donnell and another Carroll free (again after good work by Colm Kelly and Caolan McGonagle) brought the margin back to two points in the 24th minute.
But Tyrone struck for a second goal a minute from the break. An unfortunate slip by Christian Bonner in the middle of the field saw Tyone break but the finish by full-forward Fintan McClure was clinical, low to the corner.
The half-time score of 2-4 to 0-4 did not do justice to Donegal’s first half efforts, but in fairness to them, they continued to play their own game and by the 11th minute of the second half, they were back on level terms. Michael Carroll, John Campbell and Jamie Brennan had points by the 39th minute before they worked the goal two minutes later. John Campbell and Jamie Brennan were involved with Cian Mulligan (moved back from half-forward to wing-back for the second half) was in support to finish to the net.
Sean Doran restored the Tyrone lead but two Michael Carroll frees and a good point from midfielder Niall Harley had Donegal two clear with six minutes left.
Enda McGarrity reduced the lead to the minimum but Gavin McBride added the final point for Donegal in the 58th minute.
Overall, it was a very good win for Donegal with some excellent performances from Colm Kelly, Tony McClenaghan, midfielders Caolan McGonagle and Niall Harley, Cian Mulligan, John Campbell and Jamie Brennan.
They will not be happy with their wides count and need to be more clinical when goal chances crop up, but they can be very happy with the workrate and teamwork displayed.
Donegal: Danny Rodgers; Danny Monagle, Kieran Gillespie, Colm Kelly; Niall Friel, Tony McClenaghan, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Caolan McGonagle (0-1,45), Niall Harley (0-1); John Campbell (0-1), Cian Mulligan (1-0), Michael Carroll (0-5,4f); Christian Bonner, Jamie Brennan (0-1), Ethan O’Donnell (0-1). Subs., Gavin McBride (0-1) for O’Donnell 37; Andrew McClean for Brennan 47; Ciaran Diver for Bonner 53; Shane O’Donnell for C McGonigle 55.
Tyrone: Connor Traynor; Sean Doran (0-1), Paul O’Neill, Michael McKernan; Enda McGarrity (0-1), Kevin Coney, James Darcy (0-1); Conor McKenna, Peter Teague; Conn Kilpatrick, David Mulgrew, Michael O’Neill (0-1); Jonah Lafferty (1-0), Fintan McClure (1-0), Pauric McAnenly (0-2,1f). Subs., Eoghan Murray for Teague 27; Conal McElduff for Kilpatrick 42; Macauley Quinn for McAnenly 56.
Referee: Niall McKenna (Monaghan)