Tyrone bow out of Dr McKenna Cup

There will be a new name etched on the Gaelic Life Dr McKenna Cup this season after champions Tyrone went down by 0-12 to 0-11 to Donegal in their final group game today.

There will be a new name etched on the Gaelic Life Dr McKenna Cup this season after champions Tyrone went down by 0-12 to 0-11 to Donegal in their final group game today.

At a weather-beaten Ballyshannon, Donegal gained revenge for their defeat in last year's final with Colm McFadden, who finished with six points, driving them to victory.

On another day the Tir Chonaill men might have paid for missing three decent goal chances in the early stages but it was proving difficult for both sides to create scores.

A youthful Tyrone outfit led 0-5 to 0-3 at the end of a first half that was delayed due to the visitors' injured wing forward Aidan McCarron needing to be taken to hospital.

In a well-contested opening Brian Roper, who missed a goal-scoring opportunity, and Kevin McNally traded early points before Ryan Bradley missed the second of Donegal's goal chances.

Roper also lashed a shot across the face of Johnny Curran's goal, on the quarter-hour, as Donegal continued to threaten but four points on the bounce - including a hat-trick of overs from Cathal McCarron - helped Tyrone go 0-5 to 0-2 clear.

The loss of Aidan McCarron, whose head injury is not thought to be serious, did curtail Tyrone's charge but they moved 0-7 to 0-4 shortly after the restart, thanks to two points from Tommy McGuigan.

Donegal then found another gear. After McFadden (0-2) and Bradley, who fisted over with aplomb, had levelled, the home side galloped into the lead.

Gary O'Neill briefly put Tyrone back in front before Donegal notched four successive points through McFadden (0-2), Roper and David Walsh.

It was nip and tuck as the hour mark past and Tyrone launched a mini-revival with Cathal McCarron on target twice in the closing minutes.

Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durcan had to be alert to take down a dangerous ball in from Colm McCullagh and Brian McIver's men clung on to claim their first win in Section B of the McKenna Cup.

The defeat, Tyrone's second after they lost their opener to UUJ, means they are out of the running to make the semi-finals, while Donegal face Down in Newry on Wednesday to decide their fate.

Meanwhile, in what was a winner-takes-all clash, Derry beat Fermanagh by 0-13 to 0-8 in Glen to top the Section A table and qualify for the semi-finals.

Paddy Crozier's men made a good start with 2007 All-Star Paddy Bradley kicking two early points to help his side into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead.

But Fermanagh, who beat Armagh last Wednesday, were back level at 0-5 apiece at half-time and the tide seemed to turn in their favour after Bradley had a penalty saved by Ronan Gallagher.

But with a better spread of scorers - Bradley's four-point haul was bolstered by efforts from Raymond Wilkinson (0-3), Colin Devlin (0-2), Ciaran Mullan (0-2), Ryan Kealey and James Conway - Derry came out on top.

Fermanagh, for whom Matthew Keenan top-scored with 0-4, have to wait and see if their two wins from three and +0-6 scoring difference is enough to get them into the semi-finals.

In the McKenna Cup, the three group winners plus one best-placed runner-up - possibly Fermanagh - qualify for the last four.

Today's other Section A game saw Armagh manager Peter McDonnell avoid defeat in a competitive game for the first time since he took over from Joe Kernan. The Orchard men drew 2-7 to 1-10 with St. Mary's.

Goals from Paul McCaughey and Kevin O'Rourke moved Armagh into an early lead at Lurgan, yet Mary's were back level at 2-3 to 1-6 at half-time. John McCormack picked off their goal and Paul Carville fired over four impressive points.

Carville finished with six points and Armagh had to fight back at the death to ensure the draw, with O'Rourke and McCaughey, who tallied up 1-2, closing up a two-point gap.

In Section C's only game of the day, Monaghan claimed a 1-12 to 0-7 victory over Antrim at Ballybay with Raymond Ronaghan's scoring the only goal in the 24th-minute.

Monaghan led 1-3 to 0-3 at half-time and were good value for their win. Conor McManus top-scored for the Farney men with 0-4 while Tommy Freeman and Eoin Lennon both finished with three-point tallies.

Michael McCann, Michael Magill, Terry O'Neill and Conleth Totten got on the scoresheet for Antrim who could yet force their way into the semi-finals.

The Saffrons have an outstanding game to play against Queen's University and they could yet dislodge Cavan, who beat the Belfast students last night, from top spot in Section C.

A waterlogged pitch at Newcastle prevented today's Section B encounter between Down and UUJ from going ahead.

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