It was an outstanding day for Mathewson who was the hero of the hour for the Tír Conaill men, finishing with a tally of 2-3.
It was a memorable too for Donegal captain Colm Breathnach, whose early sending off in the 2010 decider left his side with too much of a mountain to climb against Longford.
This time around, the man from the Waterford gaeltacht of An Rinn led a stout defensive resistance that ensured Donegal’s goal was not breached and kept them in position to provide supporters with a thrilling ending.
Tyrone played their part in a game of high quality and with Rory O’Neill prominent, led 0-7 to 0-2 before Donegal finished strongly, with help from another Mathewson goal and Niall Campbell’s accuracy from frees.
Justin Kelly and Conor Grogan enabled the Red Hands to edge clear again with time almost up before Mathewson collected Enda McDermott’s delivery. He rounded his man with ease before rifling an unstoppable shot to the Tyrone net to exact revenge for their defeat in the 2009 decider at the hands of their Ulster rivals, in the most dramatic manner.
P O’Brien; S O’Connor, C Breathnach, A McDermott; J Donnelly, C Dowds, J Boyle; S McVeigh (0-1), P Sheridan (0-1); E Organ, S Boyle, C Mathewson (2-3); M McCann (0-1), E McDermott, N Campbell (0-6, 4f, 1 65).
Subs: P Hannigan for Organ (47); L Henderson for McCann (63); M McGhee for Boyle (68)
J Devlin; Ryan O’Neill; D Maguire, R Winters; SP Begley, S Donnelly, M Grogan; C Gallagher, M O’Gorman; G Fox 0-1, J Kelly (0-5, 3fs), A Kelly (0-3, 2fs); C McErlean, Rory O’Neill (0-2), C Grogan (0-3).
Subs: P O’Connor 0-3 for McErlean (ht); T Hughes for O’Gorman (60); M Winters for A Kelly (60)
Referee: F Smith (Meath)