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Tyrone Minors Into Semi Final
Donegal 0-7 Tyrone 0-8
Tyrone are through to the last four of the Electric Ireland Ulster minor championship after they had the minimum to spare over Donegal at Ballybofey on Sunday afternoon.
As the final score line suggests scores proved difficult to come by throughout the game and there is no doubt that both sides suffered from rustiness. That had to be expected though as it was nine months since they met in what proved to be the last round of the Ulster minor league competition. At the end of the day though it’s all about winning and in that regard manager Collie Holmes will be delighted with the battling qualities shown by his charges. Underfoot conditions were far from ideal while a number of decisions also went against the young Red Hands but they still managed to keep their composure to book a semi final clash with Derry after Christmas.
There was only fourteen seconds on the clock when a sweeping Tyrone move resulted in the game’s opening score from midfielder Oran McGrath. The visitors had got into their stride quickly and they doubled their advantage from a Ruairi Canavan 13m free after Conor McGillion had been fouled. Donegal wing half back Eoin O’Donnell opened his side’s account in the 8th minute with a quality effort from out on the right wing before Tyrone keeper Harry Morgan was called into action to take a superb catch before clearing his lines.
Donegal left half back Robbie MacDonnell reduced the deficit with a fine point but Tyrone continued to look the better side as they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession. A soft free led to the equaliser from the boot of Luke McGlynn before deep in injury time Donegal got their noses in front thanks to a mark from full forward Conor O’Neill. That brought the first half action to a close with Donegal somehow finding themselves 0-4 to 0-3 in front.
Donegal midfielder Senan Quinn opened the second half scoring in the fourth minute but then Tyrone got a grip on things with Enda McCaffrey, Sean O’Donnell, Canavan and McGillion to the fore. An outstanding point with his left boot from Canavan opened Tyrone’s second half account in the 37th minute and sixty seconds later the sides were level with Canavan again on target after exchanging passes with McGillion.
A patient Donegal build up resulted in them taking the lead again in the 41st minute through Blake McGarvey, their first and only score from play from their forward line. Tyrone hit a couple of wides before keeper Morgan levelled things again at the end of the third quarter with a sweetly struck “45”. Another quality score from Canavan gave Tyrone an advantage that they were never to lose going into the final five minutes. Tyrone had appeals for a penalty turned down when Michael Rafferty was clearly fouled before a 5th Canavan point put the winners two clear. Deep into injury time O’Donnell reduced the deficit to the minimum again but Tyrone deservedly held on to advance to the Provincial semi finals.
Donegal –Mark Gordon, Cian Mulligan, Kyle Murray, Cian McEntee, Eoin O’Donnell (0-2), Oisin Crawford, Robbie MacDonnell (0-1), Drew McKinney, Senan Quinn (0-1), Cian McMonagle, Daniel Gildea, Fionnan Coyle, Blake McGarvey (0-1), Conor O’Neill (0-1, 1M), Luke McGlynn (0-1, 1F). Subs – David Boyle for Coyle, Eoghain McLaughlin for McMonagle
Tyrone – Harry Morgan (0-1, “45”), Michael Rafferty, Enda McCaffrey, Callan Kelly, James Donaghy, Lorcan McGarrity, Sean O’Donnell, Oran McGrath (0-1), Conor Colton, Ruairi McHugh, Cormac Devlin, Ruairi Campbell, Shea Quinn, Ruairi Canavan (0-5, 1F), Conor McGillion (0-1). Subs – Conor Cush for Devlin, Tom Grimes for McGrath, Blaine Ryan for Quinn
Referee – Pat Clarke, Cavan