Two well -struck goals from Tyrone early in the second half effectively killed off a somewhat tepid and wasteful Donegal challenge in the Ulster Minor League in Ballybofey on Saturday.
Donegal . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-9
Tyrone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-8
The powerful Paul Donaghy carved the Donegal defence wide open when he picked up a poor kick out before rifling the ball confidently to the roof of the net in the 33rd minute.
And shell-shocked Donegal, who hit 14 wides, were still drawing breath when they were split wide open again as Red Hands corner forward Jude Campbell flicked a diagonal pass from Conall Grimes to the Donegal net.
Campbell’s clinical conversion put Tyrone ahead by 2-8 to 0-6 by the 38th minute and it was an uphill battle thereafter.
Donegal did manage to hit back with a scrambled goal from Eoghan McGettigan to narrow the gap.
And despite playing much better football for most of the second half, Tyrone were almost caught at the end.
The final score does not really reflect the dominance of the Red Hands, who were much more patient and controlled in attack.
In contrast, Donegal shot hastily and far too often wide.
A livelier Donegal got off to the better start with a cleverly converted point from Odhran Ferry/McFadden after a good pass from Oisin Rooney.
And with the towering Jason McGee dictating matters at midfield, the elegant Niall O’Donnell added to the home team’s advantage after just five minutes.
It took opponents Tyrone, who surprisingly lost their opening tie to Antrim, some time to get on the board, but they did so in some style through a beautifully struck effort from the powerful Paul Donaghy.
McGee stretched the lead for Tir Chonaill, but that merely signalled a swift scoring flurry from the Red Hands as Donaghy and Thomas Carney put Tyrone briefly in front on a score of 0-4 to 0-3 by the 15th minute.
But McGee hit back with the score of the match, a high hanging effort to level matters yet again.
However, Tyrone can thank 'keeper Benny Gallen for a brilliant double save to deny McGee whose point blank effort was superbly smothered by Gallen.
Seconds later Gallen again denied Garry Molloy who was following up McGee’s partially saved shot in the 16th minute.
Donegal regained the initiative before half-time but hit eight wides.
Their efforts were rewarded when J D Boyle and O’Donnell gave them a slender half-time lead of 0-6 to 0-4.
But it was Tyrone who emerged the stronger after half-time, with two smartly pointed frees from marksman Emmett McNabb swiftly levelling matters before those two clinching Tyrone goals.
Donegal: Gavin Mulreaney, Mark Curran, Aaron McCrea, Daniel Lyons; Aidan McLaughlin, Ciaran McGinley, J D Boyle (0-1); Jason McGee (0-4) Oisin Rooney; Odhran Ferry-McFadden (0-1), Enda McCormack, Shane McGrath; Gary Molloy, Niall O’Donnell (0-3) Eoghan McGettigan (1-0). Subs: Ryan Connors for O Rooney (16), Jack Flannery for Gary Molloy (42), Oran Shields for Ryan Connors (52), Eoghan Carr for Odhran Ferry-McFadden (52),
Tyrone: Benny Gallen, Conor Shields, Brian McNulty, James McGurk, Tiernan Corr, Conall Grimes, Peter Og McCartan; Martin McGleenan, Cathair Goodwin; Brannon Molloy (0-1), Thomas Carney (0-1) Paul Donaghy (1-2) Emmett McNabb(0-3f), Oran Sludden, Jude Campbell (1-0). Subs: Tiarnan Hurl for Brian McNulty (h-time), Ryan Grey for Brannon Molloy (46), Paul Donnelly for Thomas Carney (53), Tiernan Drayne for Jude Campbell (57),
Referee: E McCauley (Antrim)