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Tyrone Defeat Donegal In Entertaining Mc Kenna Cup Opener

Sunday 05.01.2014
Team Talk Mag
Club


A young and very inexperienced Tyrone team got the better of 2012 All Ireland senior champions Donegal in a competitive and at times feisty encounter in Letterkenny this afternoon. The season opening Dr Mc Kenna Cup game was played in difficult conditions but it was Mickey Harte’s side that coped best with the trying surface to edge it by three on a final score of 0-13 to 1-7.

Playing with the breeze Tyrone began well with two points from Ronan O’Neill but Donegal eventually began to get on top around the midfield and levelled the game eighteen minutes in. The home side won a penalty following a mistake by Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan but Morgan redeemed himself with a fine stop from Murphy’s low drive. The Red Hands were finding Donegal’s kick out strategy difficult to contend with and their movement and pace finally paid off for the Tir Chonaill side in the thirty first minute when they found the net. A Rory Kavanagh pass was picked up by Michael Murphy who strode forward and rifled it past Morgan and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

As half time arrived with Donegal leading 1-5 to 0-5 the majority of the almost four thousand attendance was expecting Tyrone’s young side to be overrun in the second period. However what unfolded was a superb display of controlled team work that saw Donegal add only two further points to their tally while the Red Hands found their rhythm and shooting boots. Niall Morgan landed three fine frees as Niall Mc Kenna, Conan Grugan, Ciaran Mc Ginley, Tiernan Mc Cann and Mattie Donnelly controlled the pace and flow of the game. Donegal had Rory Kavanagh black carded while both Eamon Mc Gee and Michael Murphy can count themselves fortunate to still have been on the pitch at the end.

Tyrone were very disciplined in their performance particularly in defence where Aidan Mc Crory, Conor Clarke and Barry Tierney were outstanding with all three contributing hugely to the three point win. Indeed the Red Hands could have won by more hitting thirteen wides in total over the seventy minutes. The Donegal total of four during the game wides gives a clear indication of how dominant Mickey Harte’s side was as they ran down the clock to record a fine win over their old rivals.

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