Majestic Donegal overcome Tyrone in a thriller in Breffni Park to reach Ulster final


Peter Campbell


Peter Campbell


Majestic Donegal overcome Tyrone in a thriller in Breffni Park to reach Ulster final

Ryan McHugh on the ball for Donegal against Tyrone Picture Thomas Gallagher

Donegal put in a superb performance to overcome Tyrone and reach the Ulster final in Kingspan Breffni Park. It will be their eight Ulster final appearance in nine years, a remarkable statistic.

Donegal 1-16
Tyrone 0-15
Donegal were just superb, especially up front with Jamie Brennan on fire. But it wasn't a one-man show. There were stars all over the field with Shaun Patton and Stephen McMenamin immaculate at the back and take your pick from any of those named from there up the field.
The amount of high fielding was impressive and once again Michael Murphy led from the front. It was sweet revenge for the last three meetings with Tyrone and Donegal will now play Cavan in the Ulster final in two weeks' time.
While four points separated the sides at the end, it was a comprehensive win for Donegal who never really looked in trouble once Jamie Brennan finished the approach work of Eoghan Bán Gallagher just shy of the fourth minute.
Tyrone did have goal chances at the other end, but few of them were clear cut and even then Donegal always had numbers back with Ryan McHugh stopping a Peter Harte effort while Shaun Patton dealt with anything else that came his way in a commanding way.
That Tyrone came back within three points of Donegal near the end will act as a warning for Declan Bonner and his backroom team but they never really looking like bridging the gap that Donegal had built up late in the opening half to go seven clear at the break.
Mattie Donnelly had a point on 14 seconds but Donegal were out of the traps like greyhounds in reply. Eoin McHugh had an effort for a point but it was touched for a '45' and Michael Murphy pointed. Richie Donnelly added a second Tyrone point but Donegal struck for the first goal just short of the fourth minute.
The move started with Paddy McGrath and Eoghan Bán Gallagher gave the killer pass to Jamie Brennan and he sidestepped Niall Morgan to fire to the net.
From the kick-out Murphy found Brennan and he fired over.
But it wasn't all one way. Shaun Patton was called into action for a save at the other end, fisting away and Ryan McHugh blocked the follow-up from Peter Harte.
Kieran McGeary pulled a point back but Jamie Brennan stepped up again to fire home.
Then Tyrone lost Peter Harte to a black card for a tackle on Ryan McHugh. It seemed harsh at the time but when looking at it on TV there was a clear trip by Harte.

Ciaran Thompson replaced Jason McGee on the Donegal side as Donegal created another goal chance for Jamie Brennan. His effort was almost perfect but the post denied him and Tyrone came upfield for Cathal McShane to point.
But Donegal were beginning to gain control in most areas. After good defending Donegal broke for Michael Murphy to point but there was a goal chance for Tyrone on 26 minutes when defender Brian Kennedy went through on a long run but Shaun Patton was equal to his effort.
Paddy McGrath did the spadework for Michael Langan to stretch the lead to four, 1-5 to 0-4 and after a good move Leo McLoone won a free for Murphy to extend that lead.
Niall Morgan came forward to get Tyrone's fifth point on 34 minutes but Donegal finished the half really well with points from Eoin McHugh, Jamie Brennan and Michael Murphy after he took a long, high delivery. Murphy won possession and swivelled on to his left to leave it Donegal 1-9, Tyrone 0-5 at the break.
Tyrone made changes at half-time and they had two points on the board inside six minutes of the restart, Cathal McShane from a free and Kieran McGeary, while Patrick McBrearty was narrowly wide at the other side.
Donegal could have put the game to bed on 45 minutes when a sideline found Ciaran Thompson in on goal but his effort was straight at Morgan and he saved for a '45' which Michael Muirphy put wide.
Niall Morgan went walk about and was made pay as Michael Langan won possession back and Michael Murphy found Jamie Brennan. Brennan was fouled and Murphy pointed the free
Frank McGlynn was now on the park for Donegal and the Donegal lead was out to seven when Patrick McBrearty pointed a free.
Ryan McHugh and Patrick McBrearty added two more in 30 seconds while Darren McCurry replied. A free from Cathal McShane had the margin down to five - 1-13 to 0-11 - with 60 minutes on the clock.
Eoghan Bán made a great break and Jamie Brennan went for goal but his effort was blocked. Stephen McMenamin was first to the ball in defence and it led to Murphy setting up Patrick McBrearty to fire over from an impossible angle on 63 minutes.
Hugh McFadden started and finished a great move on 67 minutes to stretch the lead to six again.
Tyrone hit back with points from Richie Donnelly and Michael Cassidy but Stephen McMenamin turned up at the other end to fist the final point of the game.
It was fitting that McMenamin got on the scoreboard, such was his contribution throughout. Apart from the point, he was very solid at the back and was manhandled a couple of times by Tyrone players and TV pictures show Tiarnan McCann making contact with his mouth on the ground, something that has no place in any game.
While Donegal were convincing winners, they will have to be even more clinical on Ulster final day, given that Cavan amassed 23 points in their replay win over Armagh on Sunday.

Scorers - DONEGAL: Jamie Brennan 1-3; Michael Murphy 0-5,45,2f; Patrick McBrearty 0-3,1f; Ryan McHugh, Eoin McHugh, Michael Langan, Stehen McMenamin 0-1 each
TYRONE: Cathal McShane 0-4,3f; Darren McCurry 0-3,1f; Niall Morgan 0-2,f,'45; Kieran McGeary 0-2; Richard Donnelly 0-2; Matthew Donnelly, Michael Cassidy 0-1 each.

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Stephen McMenamin; Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Leo McLoone; Hugh McFadden, Jason McGee; Niall O'Donnell, Michael Murphy, Eoin McHugh; Patrick McBrearty, Michael Langan, Jamie Brennan.
Subs: Ciaran Thompson for J McGee 15; Dáire Ó Baoill for E McHugh 40; Frank McGlynn for Leo McLoone 48; Oisin Gallen for O'Donnell 54; Paul Brennan for J Brennan 65

TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Michael McKernan; Tiernan McCann, Ben McDonnell, Brian Kennedy; Colm Cavanagh, Richard Donnelly; Matthew Donnelly, Kieran McGeary, Frank Burns; Cathal McShane, Peter Harte, Liam Rafferty.
Subs: Connor McAliskey for Harte bcard 11; Rory Brennan for Rafferty; Niall Sludden for Cavanagh both ht; Darren McCurry for McDonnell 41; Aidan McCrory for T McCann 56
REFEREE: David Gough (Meath)