Donegal’s domination over Tyrone in recent times was in evidence as they swept aside the Red Hand men in Ballybofey.
With their best performance of the year, Donegal have almost certainly secured their place in the top flight and have set down a marker for the championship meeting in seven weeks’ time.
There were a number of top class displays with the fitness and drive of the Donegal performance very pleasing for the 8,500 strong crowd. The only downside was two late black cards for Michael Murphy and Martin McElhinney.
McElhinney put in a very strong shift and his driving was a catalyst for many Donegal attacks. The Donegal defence were magnificent, especially in the first half, all six of them giving five-star performances.
Michael Murphy covered all over the field and his place-kicking was sublime. The only negative was the black card, which means he misses the final game against Mayo next week, but it also gives him a clean sheet before the start of the championship.
Donegal started with Michael Boyle in for Paul Durcan and Martin McElhinney for Paddy McGrath, and what a start they had with Michael Murphy taking a pass from Odhran MacNiallais to point on 10 seconds.
With the strong cross-field wind slightly aiding Donegal, Murphy added a second from a 55m free after a high tackle on Eamonn Doherty before Darren McCurry had Tyrone on the board from a free on five minutes.
Martin McElhinney, after a 1-2 with Murphy and Neil McGee stretched the lead , but Tyrone hit back with points from O’Neill and Connor McAliskey to leave just one it after 16 minutes.
But then Donegal took a firm grip, keeping Tyrone scoreless in the second quarter as they began to find the range. Neil McGee was up to set up Martin McElhinney for a point and Michael Murphy pointed two frees, one from 55m.
In the best move of the game on 29 minutes, Eamonn Doherty, McElhinney and Murphy was involved before the latter was fouled as he broke through in front of goal. Murphy pointed the free and two minutes later it got better.
An effort for a point from Frank McGlynn came back off the upright and Hugh McFadden was in but his effort was stopped but the ball broke for Ryan McHugh to sidefoot to the empty net.
Just before the break, a Karl Lacey turnover saw Michael Murphy set up Odhran MacNiallais to leave Donegal ahead by 1-9 to 0-3 at the break.
Tyrone brought Sean Cavanagh in for the start of the second half but it was Murphy who again found the range, again from 55m but this time against the wind on 39 minutes.
Christy Toye put Ryan McHugh through for another two minutes later before Peter Harte had two Tyrone points, their first in over 30 minutes.
In a great flowing move, Ryan McHugh was denied a second goal at the expense of a ‘45’ but Frank McGlynn, in sparkling form, started and finished one of the best moves of the day and Patrick McBrearty pointed a free on 58 minutes to open the gap to 11 points.
In the final ten minutes Michael Murphy was black carded for a tackle on Sean Cavanagh, although he seemed to dislodge the ball and Michael Boyle denied Darren McCurry a goal chance.
With the play broken, the only other score was a Sean Cavanagh free. It was a poor Tyrone performance with only two points from play.
Donegal: Michael Boyle; Ryan McHugh (1-1), Neil McGee (0-1), Eamon McGee; Frank McGlynn (0-1), Karl Lacey, Eamonn Doherty; Neil Gallagher, Odhran MacNiallais (0-1); Martin O’Reilly, Martin McElhinney (0-2), Christy Toye; Patrick McBrearty (0-1,f), Michael Murphy (0-6,5f), Hugh McFadden. Subs., Colm McFadden for N Gallagher 56; Anthony Thompson for Murphy, b card 60; Mark McHugh for R McHugh, Daniel McLaughlin for McElhinney, b card, both 67; Gary McFadden for N McGee 68; David Walsh for O’Reilly 69.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Ronan McNabb, Justin McMahon, Peter Harte (0-2,1f); Colm Cavanagh, Padraig McNulty; Tiernan McCann, Mattie Donnelly, Conor Clarke; Darren McCurry (0-1,f), Ronan O’Neill (0-1), Connor McAliskey (0-1,f). Subs., Sean Fox for Morgan 20; Sean Cavanagh (0-1,f) for O’Neill ht; PJ Lavery for McAliskey; Conall McCann for McNulty, both 39; Ryan McKenna for Clarke 42.
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)