Donegal Masters pictured before their game with Tyrone. Photo Geraldine Diver
Donegal made it two wins from two games with a hard fought win over arch rivals Tyrone, in sweltering heat at Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny, this afternoon.
DONEGAL ……….. 2-13
John ‘Brockagh’ McFadden and Brian McLaughlin scored the goals for the Val Murray-managed Donegal.
Both goals were hit in the second quarter as Donegal recovered from a slow start and came from five down to go in four up at half-time.
Tyrone had got off to the much better start and they hit six points to Donegal’s one in the opening 15 minutes. Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward scored the Donegal point - the game’s opening point. Tony Donaghy, Mark Donnelly and Adrian Donnelly raised the flags for a rampant Red Hands. Tyrone played with a stiff breeze in their backs in the opening half. But looking down the barrel of defeat Murray made a couple of alterations and Paul Gallagher and Benny Cassidy were sent into action.
Sticky Ward fired over Donegal’s second before John Brockagh’ McFadden got on the end of a good move to drill to the back of the Tyrone net.
And with the momentum having swung in the locals’ favour McLaughlin did well to shrug off his marker before dispatching to the roof of the Tyrone net for goal number two and a 2-2 to 0-6 lead with less than nine minutes left in the half.
Donegal went on to dominate the remainder of the half and courtesy of points from Cassidy, McLaughlin and Sticky Ward went in 2-6 to 0-7 in front, at the interval. Damian McCrory hit the Tyrone point.
Sticky Ward and Cassidy added two quick points on the resumption to extend the Donegal out to 2-8 to 0-7.
But Mark Donnelly and Declan Quinn responded for Tyrone and when Donnelly, with a quick layoff, set up Damian Patton for a goal, the visitors were back in the contest as Donegal’s lead was cut to a single point,
2-8 to 1-10.
But Donegal just went up a gear and they rattled off four points to restore a six points margin with the clock ticking on the final whistle.
However, the fat was back in the fire after Damian Patton rattled the Donegal net for the second time, three minutes from the end of normal time.
And when Eamon McElroy followed up with a quick Tyrone point, the margin was back to two and a grandstand finish.
Donegal were on the back foot and hanging on as Tyrone sensed blood and in the closing seconds it took a point blank save from ‘keeper Martin Gillespie to deny the Red Hands a third goal and keep Donegal’s winning start in tact.
Donegal are away to London in the next round on June 9th.
DONEGAL: Martin Gillespie; Charlie Doherty, Donal Martin, Ross Brady; Maurice McBride, Sean McDaid, Michael McShane; David McShane, Charlie Gallagher; Kerry Ryan, John ‘Brocagh’ McFadden (1-0), Charlie Bonner (0-1); Sean Boyce, Brian McLaughlin (1-1), Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward (0-8,2f). Subs rolling: Paul Gallagher, Benny Cassidy (0-3), Adrian McColgan, P J Gallagher, Brian McCabe.
TYRONE: Kieran Leonard; Gary McKenna, Gerard McWilliams, Sean Wilson; Paul Sweeney, Terry Donnelly, Mark Gallagher; Eoin Gormley, Eamon McElroy(0-2); Anthony Donnelly, Damian Patton (2-1), Conrad Quinn; Raymond McCallion, Mark Donnelly (0-2,2f), Tony Donaghy (0-3,1f).
Subs: Damian Wilson (0-1), Damian McElroy (0-2),Stephen Dooher.
REFEREE: Eugene McHale (Bundoran).