Tyrone have way too much for Donegal

U17 JIM MC GUIGAN CUP FINAL U-17 Jim McGuigan Cup Final U-17 Jim McGuigan Cup Final

Tyrone have way too much for Donegal
By Gerry McLaughlin Sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

Donegal may have been the holders of the Ulster U17 title for the past three years, but they did not play remotely near their potential against a rampant Tyrone in Maghera on Saturday.



This was a clear canter in the park for a lithe and lively Tyrone who had power and panache in all the right places.

When these sides met earlier in this competition, there were only two points between the sides.

But, any hopes that the minors' thrilling late victory might give some impetus to Brian McGeehan’s boys were over almost as early as towering Tyrone full-forward Cathair Gallagher smashed the ball to the Donegal net after just six minutes.

The lively Oran Sludden opened the scoring for the vastly improved Red Hands after four minutes.

That set the pattern for total Tyrone dominance, even though they were playing into a stiffish breeze in the opening half.

Donegal’s chief source of inspiration was their full forward Thomas McGowan who opened his side’s scoring in the 6th minute.

But he was mostly an isolated figure, and like Michael Murphy of the seniors, was forced to get to midfield to get some badly needed ball.

However, Donegal were well beaten in all sectors by a fit and feisty Tyrone side who also had some fine performers in ace marksman P T Cunningham who kept the score-keepers reasonably busy over what was a very long hour for Donegal fans.

McGowan and Cian McEniff were on target for Donegal while Tyrone leisurely tagged on points from Cunningham, Paddy McElduff and the commanding Mallon to deservedly lead by 1-8 to 0-4 at halftime.

Such was the absolute dominance of the Red Hands that they were able to calmly empty their bench in a most one-sided second half.

In an array of talented subs, James Morgan, was most impressive as he hit 0-4, two of them coming from very long range in a wind-assisted second half.

Another sub, Liam Hughes was also on target for the winners.

It took Donegal a full 17 minutes to find the target from Matthew McGovern.

McGowan and Ryan McMahon tried hard to rally their troops but there was no way through a very well organized Tyrone defence.

The remainder of the second half was mere target practice for the rampant Tyrone boys for whom Oran Sludden, P T Cunningham and Oran Mallon could well be pushing for a place on the minor side in the summer.

This was a most disappointing day for Donegal.

They were outfought in all departments and looked strangely flat all over the field.

But they can take some consolation, and that is scant, in knowing that they are collectively capable of turning in a much better display.

Straight talking Donegal team manager Brian McGeehin made no attempt to gloss over this disappointing defeat against Tyrone.

“We are very disappointed with that display out there today,” he said.

“Right from the start Tyrone imposed their game on us and we did not even get in among them. It is hard to say why we were so poor but it is concerning as we ran them to a few points in an earlier encounter.

“Tyrone were very strong physically also and they pressed us at every opportunity.

“When you get to a final of a competition you hope to put your best foot forward but we certainly did not do that today.

“The lads know that they are capable of much better and have shown that in the past”.

Hopefully, this will be a learning experience for this squad on a disappointing day .

Donegal: Paddy Gallagher; Aaron Deeney, Paddy McColgan, Danny Walsh; Michael McGroary, Ryan McMahon, Paul Murphy; Shaun Gorrell, Luke Devlin; Cian McEniff (0-1), Michael Gallagher (0-2), Karl McGlynn; Matthew McGovern (0-1), Thomas McGowan (0-2), Johnny Sweeney.

Subs; Darragh Byrne for Paddy McColgan (h-time), Shay Doherty for Matthew McGovern (40), Niall Hannigan for Johnny Sweeney (45), James McSharry for Shaun Gorrell (50), Oisin Purdy for Cian McEniff (56).

Tyrone: Conor Woods; Ciaran Breen, Conor Quinn, Conor Byrne; Andrew Tagyzantchs, Peadar Mullin, James Taggart; Oran Mallon (0-2), Ruairí Gormley; Adam Connolly, Oran Sludden (0-2), P T Cunningham (0-6, 4f); Paddy McElduff (0-1), Cathair Gallagher (1-1), Matthew McGuigan (0-1).

Subs; James Morgan (0-4) for O Sludden (34), Mark Donnelly (0-1) for P McElduff (40), Ciaran Brolly for M McGuigan (46), Ciaran Cuddy for C Gallagher (50), Caolan McCarron for O Mallon (56).

Referee: K Doherty (Antrim).