Donegal Masters pictured before win over Tyrone. Photo Geraldine Diver
Donegal made it two wins from two outings with a three point win over Tyrone tonight in the Colaiste Ailigh Grounds, Letterkenny.
Donegal . . . . . . 1-9
Tyrone . . . . . . . 0-8
Brian McLaughlin’s 23rd minute goal proved to be the difference at the end of a closely contested tie that saw the teams level four times before the St Michael’s man struck.
A long ball in from Gerard McGrenra found John Haran, just to the left of the Tyrone posts. The St Eunan’s man beat his marker before Brian McLaughlin bundled the ball over the line.
The Tyrone mentors were complaining afterwards that McLaughlin carried the ball into the net. However, it did go in off his knee and was perfectly legitimate.
It propelled Donegal into a 1-4 to 0-4 lead after Haran, Benny Cassidy and McLaughlin (2) had scored for the locals while Terry Donnelly (2) and Eamon McElroy had raised the Tyrone white flags
Liam Patterson and Mark Donnelly from a free pointed for Tyrone in response to the Donegal goal and the margin was down to a single point at half-time: Donegal 1-4, Tyrone 0-6.
The sides exchanged points twice in the opening two minutes of the second period with Brian McLaughlin and John Haran pointing for Donegal and Terry and Mark Donnelly responding for the Red Hands.
David McShane restored Donegal’s three point advantage after a good move at the end of the third quarter. And as the game got scrappy and tempers were frayed a couple of times the scoring dried up and the next point was a second from McShane on the hour mark to open up a four point cushion for the first time.
Denis King, after a sustained period of pressure, brought down the curtain with the last score of the game three minutes into stoppage time.
Donegal were the better team and if they had take all their chances they could have won with a little more to spare.
Gerard McGrenra and Brian McLaughlin missed gilt edged goal opportunities, both in the first half, and the locals were also guilty of kicking a number of bad wides.
Overall this was a solid performance from Donegal who are a big physical side.
Gerard McGrenra had a great first half out around midfield while John Haran ran the show in the middle in the second period with good support from Conor and David McShane.
Charlie Doherty, at corner-back, was the standout Donegal man in a defence that was well marshalled by John Anthony McMullan and Eamon Doherty at full and centre half-back.
Brian McLaughlin proved a good target man and ended the game with 1-3 while the pace and running of Benny Cassidy and Paul Gallagher troubled the Tyrone defence from the first whistle to the last.
Donegal defeated Leitrim/Longford in their first game now play Monaghan in two weeks.
DONEGAL: Martin Gillespie; Charlie Doherty, John Anthony McMullan, Packie McGrath; Seamus McGinty, Eamon Doherty, Michael McShane; David McShane, Charlie Gallagher; Paul Gallagher (0-1),Gerard McGrenra, John Haran (0-2); Benny Cassidy (0-1) , Brian McLaughlin (1-3), Stephen McGonagle. Subs rolling: Sean McDaid, Eddie Gallagher, Kerry Ryan, Seamus Ferry, Kevin McGettigan, Dermot Colgan, Johnny McGinty, Martin McShane, David McShane (0-2), Charlie McGinty.
TYRONE: C Leonard; G McCann, K McMenamin, S O’Neill; L Patterson (0-1), S Dooher, P Sweeney; C Quinn, R O’Neill; D Paterson, E McElroy (0-1), T Donnelly (0-3); N Corey, G McWilliams, M Donnelly (0-3,3f). Subs; A McSorley, M Darcy, R Gormley, C Gallen, D King (0-1).
REFEREE: Robbie O’Donnell (Donegal).