Donegal U-21s produced a magnificent display to overcome the odds in Healy Park, Omagh last night, being much stronger than Tyrone in the quarter-final of the Ulster U-21 championship.
They did so thanks to a brilliant display from senior player Patrick McBrearty, who was back to his brilliant best, hitting points at will for Donegal. His final tally of 0-7 was central to Donegal’s victory.
But it was not a one man display as Donegal dominated in most areas of the field. They will now meet Derry in the Ulster semi-final on Wednesday night of next week.
Donegal really took the challenge in the first half and were two points up at half-time against a fancied Tyrone side who spent most of the first half hour.
The O’Neill County were still in touch at the break courtesy of a Stefan Tierney goal which was something against the run of play.
The wing back up in attack on fisted a Richard Donnelly cross to Peter Boyle’s net. That was on 25 minutes and hauled Tyrone back to just a point of Donegal, 0-7, to 1-3 with five minutes to half-time.
But despite the setback Donegal finished the half strongly and were rewarded when Conor Gibbons converted from 35 metes way out on the left hand side to send Donegal in 0-8 to 1-3 in front at the break.
Donegal get off to a bright start with three points to Tyrone’s one in the opening five minutes. Patrick McBrearty converted from 22 metres for the first after Willie Gillespie was fouled inside two minutes.
While Darren McCurry levelled it one minute later Odhran MacNiallais polished off a sweeping move when he launched from 30 metres and Donegal were two up shortly afterwards when McBrearty was again on target, this time from 13 metres after MacNiallais was fouled.
Donegal pressed for the next ten minutes with McBrearty short from a number of mid range frees before Willie Gillespie flashed over a brilliant point.
And with McBrearty finanally finding his range, the senior star posted three quick points to stretch his side’s advantage out to 0-7 to 0-3.
Darren McCurry had an early Tyrone point in the second half but Patrick McBrearty replied with a massive 45m free. Ronan O’Neill reduced the leeway to one from a free. McBrearty replies and then young Darach ‘Jigger’ O’Connor puts Donegal three clear 0-11 to 1-5.
Conor Gibbons landed a great free as McBrearty picked up a blood injury.
Darren McCurry pulled Tyrone back within three with ten minutes but Luke Keaney and Eoin McHugh had points as Donegal went six clear. They did have a late scare as Peter Boyle brought off a great save, but on the night, Donegal were very worthy winners. Tyrone were reduced to 14 late on when Richard Donnelly was shown red.
Scorers: Donegal: Patrick McBrearty 0-7,5f; Conor Gibbons 0-3,2f; Odhran MacNiallais, Willie Gillespie, Darach O’Connor, Luke Keaney, Eoin McHugh 0-1 each.
Tyrone: Stefan Tierney 1-0; Darren McCurry 0-3; Ronan O’Neill 0-2,1f; Conor Grugan 0-1.
Donegal: Peter Boyle; Kevin McFadden, Caolan Ward, Pauric Carr; Eoin McHugh, Martin O’Reilly, Conor Parke; Ciaran Cannon, Luke Keaney; Leon Kelly, Conor Gibbons, Ryan McHugh; William Gillespie, Patrick McBrearty, Odhran MacNiallais. Subs: Darrach O’Connor for P. Carr 23; Gavin Gallagher for Gillespie 53; Pauric Carr for Parke 57
Tyrone: Mark McReynolds; Ruairi Loughran, Dwayne Quinn, Hugh Pat McGarvey; Stefan Tierney, Conor Clarke, Jonathan Munroe; Richard Donnelly, Conan Grugan; Liam Gervin, Ronan O’Neill, Niall Sludden; Darren McCurry, Padraig McNulty, Ryan Devlin. Subs: Thomas McCarron for H.P. McGarvey 27; Harry Og Conlon for R Devlin 36; Thomas Canavan for Tierney 40; Ciaran McGeary for P McNulty 52; Eunan Deeney for J Munroe 57.
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).