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Tyrone Bow Out Of Ulster Championship

Sunday 01.11.2020
Team Talk Mag
All Ireland Series


Donegal 1-13 Tyrone1-11

Tyrone bowed out of the Ulster championship at the first hurdle when they lost a close encounter to Donegal at Ballybofey on Sunday afternoon. It was a contest that was played in difficult weather conditions and is a game that the Red Hands will feel they left behind them.


The visitors started well as they established a four point lead but by the short  whistle reigning Ulster champions Donegal were two points to the good. An early second half goal from championship debutant Darragh Canavan edged Tyrone two in front but crucially Donegal got the next four points. Tyrone rallied though to draw level and they had three chances to hit the front but failed to take them with the hosts moving two clear before they soaked up late pressure to advance to the last four. When these two sides met two weeks ago in the league the trio of Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan and Ryan McHugh hit 1-12 for the winners but this time around they managed only 0-2 between them. Unfortunately from a Tyrone point of view it was another duo that did the damage on the scoreboard as Ciaran Thompson and Michael Langan finished with 1-9 between them.


The Red Hands were much the better side in the opening quarter but the water break came at the wrong time for them with them leading 0-5 to 0-1. Frank Burns replaced Padraig Hampsey in the Tyrone starting side that had been named while Donegal made two changes as well. There were also a number of positional switches with Mattie Donnelly dropping back to take up Donegal talisman and Captain Michael Murphy, Conor Meyler picked up danger man Ryan McHugh while Neil McGee was given a man marking job on Conor McKenna. A poor kick out from Donegal keeper Shaun Patton led to the opening score in the third minute for Darren McCurry before the same player doubled the visitors advantage from a thirteen metre free after McGee had touched the ball on the ground.


By the 9th minute it was 0-3 to 0-0 when Mattie Donnelly got forward to split the posts following a patient build up. Donegal opened their account in the 11th minute from a Ciaran Thompson free from out on the right wing but it was Tyrone who looked the more threatening side. Michael McKernan won a free on the left wing which Conor McKenna converted before keeper Niall Morgan nailed a “45”.


Tyrone were in control but the water break halted their momentum and when play resumed Michael Langan struck a quality score from out on the right wing. In the 26th minute the sides were level when a long kick out from Patton went straight to Peadar Mogan who offloaded inside to Langan and he made no mistake with a thumping shot to the roof of the net which gave Morgan no chance.


Jamie Brennan then clipped Donegal in front for the first time before his brother Paul got forward from defence to leave two between the sides. A patient build up from Tyrone finished with a quality score from McCurry but it was Donegal who had the final say of the opening period from a Ciaran Thompson free to leave them 1-5 to 0-6 in front at the short whistle.


Darragh Canavan opened the second half scoring with a superb effort after taking a pass from McCurry before the same player showed great composure to round keeper Patton and fire to the net after he had dispossessed Eoghan Ban Gallagher in the 7th minute of the half. Tyrone though missed chances to really put their opponents on the back foot and instead it was Donegal who made the most of any opportunities that came their way. A poor clearance from Morgan led to a Jamie Brennan point before Thompson levelled matters.


A good move then led to Langan putting Donegal in front again before Thompson made it four points on the trot for the winners. Tyrone though played their way back into the game and an excellent point from Frank Burns was quickly followed by the equaliser from substitute Mark Bradley only moments after coming on. Donegal though were always able to respond with Thompson knocking over a straight forward free to give his side a slender 1-10 to 1-9 advantage at the second water break.


Another Thompson free stretched that advantage to two on the restart before a booming kick out from Morgan released Bradley on a one on one situation with Murphy and he elected to take his point. In the 60th minute Tyrone almost got a goal when a long delivery in from substitute Richard Donnelly saw McKenna get on the end of it but his touch was cleared off the line by Donegal defender Stephen McMenamin. Moments later though the sides were level again when Peter Harte took a pass from Bradley to blast over.


Bradley and Michael McKernan then had Tyrone wides before Thompson knocked over another Donegal free which had been moved in closer by referee Joe McQuillan. With two minutes of normal time left to play Niall Sludden won a free but McKenna was wide with the attempted conversion. Donegal substitute Oisin Gallen then put two between the sides as the contest entered four minutes of injury time. Tyrone piled on the pressure with McKernan hitting the bar with an attempt at a point while McMenamin foiled McKenna’s effort for a goal with a great tackle as Donegal weathered the storm to book a semi final meeting with Armagh.


Donegal: Shaun Patton, Stephen McMenamin, Neil McGee, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan (0-1), Peadar Mogan, Hugh McFadden, Caolan McGonigle, Ciaran Thompson (0-7, 5F), Niall O’Donnell, Michael Langan (1-2), Jack McKelvey, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan (0-2). Subs: Eoin McHugh for McKelvey, Andrew McClean for Neil McGee, Paddy McGrath for Paul Brennan, Jason McGee for McGonigle, Oisin Gallen (0-1) for O’Donnell


Tyrone: Niall Morgan (0-1, “45), Liam Rafferty, Ronan McNamee, Michael McKernan, Tiernan McCann, Michael O’Neill, Frank Burns (0-1), Brian Kennedy, Mattie Donnelly (0-1), Kieran McGeary, Conor McKenna (0-1, 1F), Conor Meyler, Darren McCurry (0-3, 1F), Peter Harte (0-1), Darragh Canavan (1-1). Subs: Richard Donnelly for O’Neill, Mark Bradley (0-2) for McCurry, Padraig Hampsey for Kennedy, Niall Sludden for Canavan


Referee: Joe McQuillan, Cavan



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