Tyrone 5-11 Donegal 3-16
Tyrone have won the inaugural Lory Meagher Cup, and promotion to the Nicky Rachard series for next season, with a one-point win over Donegal at Croke Park.
The Red Hand hurlers, in their first ever appearance at GAA headquarters, struck for goals at crucial times, coming from nine points behind to squeeze over the finish line.
Tyrone made a flying start, and were 1-3 to 0-1 ahead inside the opening 10 minutes, after full forward Rory O’Neill had booted in a seventh minute goal.
After a slow start, the men from Tir Chonaill began to feel their way into the game, and a couple of Kevin Campbell scores and an excellent long ragne effort from midfielder Stephen Boyle narrowed the gap to a point by the end of the opening quarter.
They went level in the 22nd minute with a Lee Henderson goal, who followed up to net from close range after substitute Mickey McCann’s shot had been superbly saved by Declan McCabe.
And Donegal finished the first half with a flourish, with Kevin Campbell, McCann and Danny Cullen sending them in at the break with a 1-9 to 1-6 advantage.
Sub Paddy Hannigan flicked home a Donegal goal, but the Red Hands responded with two goals in the space of three minutes, from substitute Peadar McMahon and Shea McKiver
Justin Kelly blasted a 20 metre free to the net for Tyrone’s fourth goal on 54 minutes to bring the sides level, and McKiver shot them back in front moments later.
And they hit he net for a fifth time when O’Neill danced through for his second 10 minutes from the end.
Donegal responded yet again with a Danny Cullen goal with two minutes of normal time to play, but the Red Hands held on.
Tyrone: D McCabe, SP Begley, D Maguire, M Kelly, T McIntosh, S Donnelly, C Gallagher, J Kelly (1-4, 1-2f, 2 ‘65’), T Hughes, D Lavery (0-1), P O’Connor (0-1), S McIver (1-1), C Grogan (0-4), R O’Neill (2-0), G Fox.
Subs: P McMahon (1-0) for Fox, A Kelly for O’Connor,
Donegal: R Scanlon, M McGrath, J Boyle, W Scanlon, J Donnelly (0-1), C Breathnach, C McLaughlin, D Cullen (1-2, 0-1f), S Boyle (0-1), C Mathewson, S McVeigh (0-1), K Campbell (0-6, 4f, 1 ’65), L Henderson (1-0), G O’Dwyer, N Campbell (0-2)
Subs: M McCann (0-2) for O’Dwyer, P Hannigan (1-0) for Mathewson, M McGee (0-1) for McVeigh
Referee: T Carroll (Offaly)