Champions Tyrone up the ante in second-half to see off Donegal

All-Ireland champions Tyrone produced a much-improved second-half to qualify for the EirGrid Ulster U21 final at Donegal’s expense in Derry last night.
Champions Tyrone up the ante in second-half to see off Donegal

Last year, Donegal shaved the feathers of Tyrone in the Ulster final, only to lose to an injury time point from Daniel McNulty 1-11 to 0-13. It was former manager Maxi Curran’s third successive showpiece reversal.

And although the scoreboard won’t necessarily reflect it, this morning Donegal will have regrets.

Donegal dominated the first-half everywhere but, on the scoreboard, they were only two points ahead at half-time, 0-6 to 0-4.

Then, at the start of the second-half, there was another missed opportunity.

Jamie Brennan, from a quick free-kick from Caolan McGonagle just 11 seconds in, missed a glorious chance to push the Donegal advantage out to five. Tyrone goalkeeper Sean Fox stood up well to save and keep his team in the game.

That was the springboard from which Tyrone launched themselves and Donegal’s discipline began to count against them.

Declan Bonner’s side saw their chances evaporate after the break with the sendings off of Stephen McMenamin for a second yellow card and Bruce Waldron for a yellow and a back. Tellingly, McGonagle was also back-carded.

And on 38 minutes, Tyrone got the goal that really lifted them when Ryan Coleman emphatically smashed the ball into Danny Rodgers’ top corner after Mark Kavanagh’s initial effort cannoned back down off the upright.

Conor Doherty, on 41 minutes, managed to shoot his Donegal team back in front when he stabbed past Fox from close range. But Tyrone were not going to be knocked off their groove and kicked seven in a row with Lee Brennan’s free from the sideline the pick of an impressive bunch.

In injury-time, Donegal’s McBrearty scored a penalty after Tyrone goalkeeper Fox was black-carded and Ronan McGreary took over between the sticks. Tyrone, though, had made far more hay in their period of dominance in the second-half than Donegal managed in the first.

Scorers for Donegal:

S McBrearty 1-5 (1-0pen, 3f), C Doherty 1-0, C O’Donnell, C Thompson (f), C Bonner 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tyrone:

R Coleman 1-2, L Brennan 0-5 (3f) C McShane (1f), M Kavanagh 0-2 each, S O’Donnell, S Loughran, F Burns, S Fox 0-1 each

DONEGAL:

D Rodgers; C Morrison, K Gillespie, J O’Brien; S McMenamin, E McGrath, A McClean; C O’Donnell, C Thompson; C Bonner, E Gallagher, S McBrearty; J Brennan, C McGonagle, M Carroll.

Subs:

C Doherty for Brennan (32), M Coyle for Bonner (40), B Waldron for McGonagle (black card, 42), C Mulligan for McClean (46), A Neely for O’Donnell (54), Jack Scally for O’Brien (58).

TYRONE:

S Fox; C McCann, P Teague, S Hamill; C Byrne, S Loughran, M O’Neill; C McShane, B McDonnell; M Kavanagh, F Burns, D Mulgrew; L Brennan, R Coleman, S Fox.

Subs:

M McKernan for Teague (15), J Harkin for McDonnell (black card, 17), R McGlone for O’Neill (50), for McShane (54), S O’Donnell for Kavanagh (58) R McGeary for Fox (black card, 60).

Referee:

B Cassidy (Derry).

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