Donegal hurlers celebrate their Div. 3A league win
Davin Flynn fired 2-8 from play as Donegal captured Allianz Division 3A Hurling League honours, and with it promotion to Division 2B next season, following a superb 23-point win over Tyrone at Celtic Park, Derry.
By Cóilín Duffy at Celtic Park, Derry
The Tipperary native was stunning, and was provided with some excellent ball from his team-mates, in a game that done much to raise the hearts of the mainly Donegal crowd, with only 89 spectators present for throw-in.
Those present certainly got value for money – five well-taken goals; 36 points – 28 of those from play; one red card, and 10 yellow cards – seven for Tyrone; in a contest that wasn't ugly in nature, and saw Ardal McDermott's side claim their second win over the Red Hands in this campaign, after a five-point victory in Letterkenny in their Round 3 clash.
Donegal started as they meant to continue, with a fine point from play for Lee Henderson opening the scoring after just 33 seconds.
Henderson was pretty accurate during this tie, just putting one free wides as he added six further points from placed balls, including three before the break.
Donegal were rampant in the opening quarter, and into the start of the second quarter, leading by 2-8 to 0-0 after 19 minutes, with Tyrone registering five wides at this stage.
Henderson followed up his early point from play with two pointed frees in a row, before Flynn slotted the ball past Tyrone veteran keeper John Devlin for the opening goal after eight minutes.
Points from Offaly native Niall Cleary and Flynn (2) ensured a 1-6 to 0-0 lead after 13 minutes, before Cleary made an excellent catch inside and fed Flynn who ensured a 12-point gap.
Bernard Lafferty and Flynn added fine scores, but Tyrone were eager for scores.
Mattie Lennon's charges eventually opened their account in the 19th minute, after Damien Casey claimed a well struck point from play.
However, Donegal continued to impress, with Tyrone guilty of some indiscipline, and the Red Hands had five yellow cards in the opening 29 minutes - four in defence, with Ruairi and Lorcan Devlin and Tiarnan Morgan, along with forwards Pierse O'Kelly and Ryan McKernan in the notebook of Clare referee Rory McGann at this stage.
Conor Grogan, Casey and Aidy Kelly added Tyrone points, but Donegal's hat-trick was completed in first half injury-time when Stephen Gllespie netted, to ensure a 3-11 to 0-4 interval lead.
Donegal began the second half brightly, firing 1-1 unanswered including a Ronan McDermott goal.
Flynn was provided, and although Burt clubman McDermott's initial effort was blocked by keeper Devine, he made no mistake from the rebound.
However, the middle third of the second half was well balanced, with Casey cutting in for a 61st minute goal to ensure a 4-19 to 1-10 score-line.
Tyrone were reduced to 14 men at this stage after a straight red card for substitute Mike O'Gorman. O'Gorman was less than five minutes on the pitch, before being sent to the line, with Flynn picking up a yellow card in the same incident.
Donegal came good again towards the end, firing six of the last seven points, with Henderson, Flynn, McDermott, Jamie Deward and Joe Boyle on target; on the way to a comfortable victory.
After the game Donegal captain Danny Cullen accepted the Cup.
DONEGAL: Paul Burns; Dara Grant, Jamesie Donnelly, Padhraic Doherty; Joe Boyle (0-2), Jack O’Loughlin, Ciaran Finn; Danny Cullen (0-1), Lee Henderson (0-7, 6f); Bernard Lafferty (0-2), Colm Melaugh (0-1), Ronan McDermott (1-1); Stephen Gillespie (1-0), Niall Cleary (0-1), Davin Flynn (2-8). Subs: Jamie De Ward (0-2) for Lafferty (48); Christopher McDermott for Finn (57); Gerard Gilmore for Cleary (61); Richie Kee for Melaugh (61); Seán Curran for Flynn (70).
TYRONE: John Devlin; Ruairí Devlin, Brendan Begley, Seán Muldoon; Lorcan Devlin, Stephen Donnelly, Tiarnan Morgan; Chris Cross, Dermot Begley; Conor Grogan (0-2), Pierse O’Kelly, Ryan McKernan; Matthew Mulgrew (0-1), Damien Casey (1-6, 2f), Peadar Daly. Subs: Aidan Kelly (0-1) for O’Kelly (23); Bryan McGurk for Daly (25); Pádraig McHugh (0-1) for McKernan (HT); Mike O’Gorman for Muldoon (48); Duibhir Marshall for Cross (60).
Referee: Rory McGann (Clare).