AN EXHIBITION of free-taking from Michael Murphy means Tyrone and Kerry will face-off on Sunday at Healy Park as both bid to survive the drop to the Allianz League Division Two.
The Donegal captain was in exceptional form from placed balls in thoroughly awkward windy conditions to score six points as Rory Gallagher’s team steamrolled the side managed by Mickey Harte.
Monaghan’s victory over Kerry meant the Red Hands had a surprise reprieve and need a two-point winning margin next weekend to relegate the All-Ireland champions, along with Derry who fell through the trapdoor on Saturday.
Ryan McHugh netted what proved to be the only goal of the game on 31 minutes when he was on hand to shoot past Tyrone substitute goalkeeper Sean Fox, who had saved initially from Hugh McFadden when Frank McGlynn’s effort had come back down off the upright.
Donegal welcome Tyrone back to Ballybofey on May 17 in the preliminary round of the Ulster championship and on this showing will not relinquish the Anglo-Celt Cup without a struggle.
Donegal, with Murphy scoring two long-range frees from 55 metres, were 1-9 to 0-3 in front at the interval before the same player added another from similar distance just after the break. He was later black-carded for a foul on Sean Cavanagh and will miss his team’s trip to Mayo on Sunday as a consequence.
Tyrone never got going and despite trying to flood their defence were unable to keep tabs on a Donegal side who attacked them at angles. Martin McElhinney kicked two fine points as Tyrone failed to trouble the umpires from the 16th minute to the 48th.
Michael Murphy 0-6 (5f), Ryan McHugh 1-1, Martin McElhinney 0-2, Odhran MacNiallais, Neil McGee and Frank McGlynn 0-1 each, Patrick McBrearty 0-1 (1f)
Peter Harte 0-2 (2f), Darren McCurry, Ronan O’Neill, Connor McAlliskey and Sean Cavanagh 0-1 (1f)
M Boyle; E Doherty, N McGee, E McGee; F McGlynn, K Lacey, R McHugh; N Gallagher, O MacNiallais; C Toye, M McElhinney, M O’Reilly; P McBrearty, M Murphy, H McFadden. Subs: C McFadden for Gallagher (57), A Thompson for Murphy (black card 61), D McLaughlin for McElhinney (68 black card), M McHugh for R McHugh (68), G McFadden for N McGee (70), D Walsh for O’Reilly (70).
N Morgan; R McNamee, J McMahon, C McCarron; A McCrory, R McNabb, C Clarke; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; T McCann, Mattie Donnelly, P Harte; Da McCurry, R O’Neill, C McAliskey. Subs: S Fox for Morgan (20), S Cavanagh for O’Neill (half-time), PJ Lavery and C McCann for McAliskey and McNulty (41), N McKenna for Clarke (43), P Hughes for C Cavanagh (61)
Joe McQuillan (Cavan)