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Tyrone Lose Out In Opening NFL Clash

Saturday 15.05.2021
Team Talk Mag
Latest News


Tyrone 0-16 Donegal 0-18

Tyrone failed to get their NFL campaign off to a winning start when they lost narrowly to Donegal in a high scoring encounter at Healy Park on Saturday evening.

It was a contest that was laced with quality scores throughout and after the sides went in level at the break the visitors just about had the edge in the second period. There is no doubt that they key moment in the game arrived only five minutes into the second half when the home side were reduced to fourteen men after defender Michael O’Neill picked up a second yellow card.

Within ten minutes of his dismissal Donegal had established a three point advantage and while Tyrone kept plugging away until the final whistle they just came up short in their attempt to close the gap. There is no doubt the highlight for the new management team was the performance of Paul Donaghy who contributed a hugely impressive 0-10 on the night on his competitive debut with four of those scores coming from play. 

Straight from the throw in Donegal opened the scoring via their Captain Michael Murphy but by the 12th minute Tyrone had their noses in front thanks to a Donaghy free and an O’Neill point from play. Paddy McBrearty and Conor McKenna traded points as did Michael Langan and Donaghy before a Murphy free left it 0-4 each in the 18th minute. Prior to that Tyrone could have had a goal but Donegal keeper Shaun Patton denied McKenna. 

Another Murphy free was followed by a point from play from Jamie Brennan and while Conor Meyler reduced the gap further scores from Murphy and Niall O’Donnell left Donegal 0-8 to 0-5 to the good. It was a crucial stage in the game but Tyrone responded well Kieran McGeary splitting the posts from play and Donaghy knocking over a brace of frees. Ciaran Thompson edged Donegal back in front only for keeper Niall Morgan to drill over a “45”. With the contest in first half injury time McBrearty and Donaghy exchanged points to bring the first half scoring to a close. 

After Ardboe man O’Neill was sent off in the early stages of the second half Donegal saw an opportunity to seize the initiative. With the extra man they were able to get their kick outs away a lot easier and points from Brennan, Murphy and McBrearty saw them go 0-13 to 0-10 clear by the 15th minute of the second half. Tyrone needed a response and it came in the next attack with Donaghy converting a “45” after McKenna was once again denied by Patton.  

McBrearty then nailed a long range free before midfielder Caolan McGonagle got his name on the scoresheet following a surging run to leave four between the sides. Donaghy maintained his fine display with a brilliant conversion off the ground from under the Stand but Donegal came straight down the field to grab a quality score from the boot of Thompson. Donaghy knocked over another free and then he weighed in with the score of the game, an outstanding effort with the outside of the boot from forty five metres out. 

That narrowed the deficit to two points but the Red Hands couldn’t get any closer. Peadar Mogan scored from out on the left wing and even though Donaghy and substitute Mark Bradley replied for Tyrone an effort from Murphy sandwiched in between helped guide the visitors to victory. 

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-1, “45”), R Brennan, R McNamee, P Hampsey, M Cassidy, P Harte, M O’Neill (0-1), F Burns, B Kennedy, P Donaghy (0-10, 5F, 1 “45”), M Donnelly, C Meyler (0-1), K McGeary (0-1), C McKenna (0-1), R Donnelly. Subs: M McKernan for McNamee, C Munroe for Kennedy, M Bradley (0-1) for R Donnelly, N Sludden for Cassidy, D Canavan for McGeary

Donegal: S Patton, C Ward, N McGee, B McCole, R McHugh, P Brennan, P Mogan (0-1), H McFadden, C McGonagle (0-1), N O’Donnell (0-1), C Thompson (0-2), M Langan (0-1), P McBrearty (0-4, 2F), M Murphy (0-6, 4F), J Brennan (0-2). Subs: D O’Baoill for McFadden, E McHugh for Ward, A McClean for P Brennan, O Gallen for J Brennan, E Doherty for N O’Donnell, E O’Donnell for Langan 

Referee: J McQuillan, Cavan

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