Thriller ends in stalemate

Donegal 2-17 Tyrone 4-11

Donegal 2-17 Tyrone 4-11

Young Footballer of the Year Michael Murphy laid on a scoring exhibition at Ballybofey.

But his magical 2-9 tally was not enough to win a thrilling Dr McKenna Cup tie for Donegal.

A first half hat-trick from Tyrone’s Martin Penrose in the end proved crucial for Tyrone, who held on to salvage a draw.

Penrose drilled home the first of his two first half goals in the fourth minute, latching on to an Aidan Cassidy pass before darting past two defenders and gave Paul Durcan no chance with a clinical finish.

The home side responded with a Michael Murphy goal, the young tyro deftly punching the ball beyond the reach of advancing goalkeeper Mickey O’Neill from Darragh Gallagher’s long delivery.

Tommy McGuigan’s second converted free and points from Niall Gormley and Penrose made it 1-5 to 1-1 to the Red Hands on 14 minutes, but a couple of Colm McFadden scores kept John Joe Doherty’s men very much in the hunt.

The deadly Penrose struck again, however, on 20 minutes with another screamer. Donegal responded immediately, shooting five points in a row, four of them from Murphy, to narrow the gap to a point.

Penrose, who lives just a stone’s throw from the Donegal border, had more punishment in store for his neighbours with a third strike in the sixth minute of stoppage time to send Tyrone in with a 3-8 to 1-9 interval lead.

A four point salvo in the opening five minutes of the second half, from McFadden, Murphy, Darragh Gallagher and sub David Walsh made it a one score game once again, and Tyrone’s bid to trump their opponents with another goal was foiled by Durcan’s superb save from Niall Gormley.

Murphy brought the sides level, but as the game entered its final quarter, Mickey Harte’s men were clinging onto a slender one point lead.

Former Aussie Rules rookie Kyle Coney came off the bench to net a fourth goal with his first touch and get his side back on course.

There were yet more twists in this remarkable game, and Murphy stamped his class on the contest yet again when he rose high to fetch, turn and shoot low to the net.

Donegal: P Durcan, J Keeney, N McGee, C McCarron, E Wade, K Lacey, M McGuire, K Cassidy, N Gallagher, E Kelly (0-1), C McFadden (0-5, 2f) D Gallagher (0-1), A Hanlon, M Murphy (2-9, 6f, 2 ’45), G Concarr.

Subs: D Walsh (0-1) for McCarron, F McNulty for D Gallagher, C Gallagher for hanlon

Tyrone: M O’Neill, M Swift, Justin McMahon, Joe McMahon, G Teague (0-1), C Gormley, S O’Neill, A Cassidy, K Hughes, E McGinley, B McGuigan, T McGuigan (0-4, 4f), N Gormley (0-2), M Penrose (3-3, 0-1f), G Devlin (0-1).

Subs: M Donnelly for Devlin, K Coney (1-0) for T McGuigan, E McCusker for N Gormley, R McNabb for C Gormley, P Harte for B McGuigan

Referee: JJ Cleary (Derry).

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