FROM ODHRÁN CRUMLEY IN CLONES
ULSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI FINAL
In arguably the performance of the summer, Tyrone delivered a masterclass trouncing rivals Donegal, booking their place in July’s Ulster decider. The manner of the win and the performance has placed the Red Hand machine in contention for honours later in the year.
It was Donegal who emerged fastest from the blocks, winning the throw in and could of scored from their very first attack had it not been for Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan reaching over six feet in the air to save a pointed effort from going over his crossbar.
Patrick McBrearty would open the scoring from a close range free with four minutes on the clock after both sides had forced early turnovers. Michael Murphy doubled his sides lead minutes later nailing a forty five.
Tyrone replied from the very next attack, David Mulgrew pointing on his very first senior championship start. The sides would be level again on eight minutes Mattie Donnelly shooting high into the Clones sky from out on the right raising the umpire’s flag from a difficult angle.
McBrearty would get his second of the day this time from play curling over from range after a patient Donegal bulid up. Niall Morgan’s long range kicking sent his side of the attack immediately, Sean Cavanagh found himself bearing down on the Donegal goal, only to see his goal bound effort superbly saved by Mark Anthony McGinley.
The save would give the Tir Chonaill men a lift, Michael Murphy hitting an eye catching score from all of forty five yards with the outside of his right boot to put two between the sides once again.
The lively Mark Bradley would escape the grasp of Neil McGee turning and pointing from range with relative ease. Peter Harte levelled the sides once again on the sixteenth minute jinking through the Donegal blanket before shooting high over the bar.
From the restart Eoin McHugh would latch onto McGinley’s long kick, the pace of the Kilcar man saw him bounding down on the Tyrone goal, only to send a huge goal chance to the left and wide of the post.
Tiernan McCann would put his side one up before Martin O’Reilly levelled the game for the third time. O’Reilly’s effort on the 23rd minute would prove to be his side’s last of the half.
From here the men in white and red would take over Niall Sludden firing over from range. The long range shooting of the Ulster Champions really coming to the fore as corner back Padraig Hampsey landed a huge kick from out on the left.
Both Peter Harte and Kieran McGeary would kick long range scores extending Tyrone’s lead to four. Sludden, Hampsey and a long range free from Sean Cavanagh would give Tyrone a seven point lead at the break on a score line of 0-12 to 0-5.
The Red Hands continued where they left off in the second half, the first score of the half killing the game as Tiernan McCann hit the back of the Donegal net. The Killyclogher man’s endeavour brought him through on goal, his miskick slotting into the bottom left corner of the goal.
McBrearty replied for Donegal, their first score in over twenty minutes. Mark Bradley restored the ten point advantage from an acute angle. Bradley would then harshly be dismissed on a black card from referee David Gough.
Two more long range efforts from Mattie Donnelly and Kieran McGeary gave Tyrone a twelve point lead. As McGeary and McBrearty traded close range scores.
A second forty five from Michael Murphy was cancelled out by a Sludden score before Michael Carroll drilled the ball into the net past the onrushing Niall Morgan.
Sludden and substitute Ronan O’Neill kept the scoreboard ticking over as Michael Langan pointed for Donegal before a fine piece of high fielding from Colm Cavanagh inside his own score.
McBrearty and Declan McClure traded long range effort before Hugh McFadden fired over. McGinley was on hand once again to deny Darren McCurry a goal.
Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan was on hand to send the resulting forty five over the bar, a McBrearty free would land over the bar before Meath referee David Gough would sound his whistle to bring the game to an end.
Confirming Tyrone’s place in July 16th’s Ulster decider on a score line of 1-21 to 1-12.
Tyrone: N Morgan (0-01, ’45); A McCrory, R McNamee, P Hampsey (0-02); T McCann (1-01), C McCarron, P Harte (0-02); C Cavanagh, C McCann; K McGeary (0-03), N Sludden (0-04), D Mulgrew (0-01); M Bradley (0-02), S Cavanagh (0-1, f), M Donnelly (0-02).
Subs: D McCurry for Bradley (44 BC), R Brennan for Mulgrew (46), D McClure (0-01) for C McCann (50), R O’Neill (0-01) for S Cavanagh (56), C McShane for McGeary (56), J McMahon for Harte (70)
Donegal: MA McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, EB Gallagher; R McHugh, F McGlynn, E Doherty; J McGee, C Thompson; M Carroll (1-0), M Reilly (0-01), J Brennan; P McBrearty (0-06, 4F), M Murphy (0-03, 2 ’45), E McHugh..
Subs: K Lacey for J McGee (31), M McElhinney for McGlynn (h-t), H McFadden (0-01) for Brennan (h-t), C Mulligan for Thompson (38). K Gillespie for Doherty (46), M Langan (0-01) for E McHugh (59)
Referee: D Gough (Meath).