DONEGAL’S HOPES OF a seventh successive Ulster SFC final were obliterated following a comprehensive beating at Tyrone’s hands this afternoon at a sultry St Tiernach’s Park in Clones.
Donegal 1-12 Tyrone 1-21
Rory Gallagher’s team now face into the Round 2A qualifier draw tomorrow morning with their possible opponents being Sligo, Derry, Longford and Laois.
Donegal captain Michael Murphy clashes with Tyrone’s Colm Cavanagh during this afternoon’s Ulster SFC semi-final at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones . Photo Evan Logan
A Tiernan McCann goal in the 38th minute of this one-sided semi-final effectively was the final nail, with the Tyrone wing-back picking up possession barely inside the Donegal half before waddling pretty much unopposed bar one flailing Karl Lacey tackle and stumping a shot past Mark Anthony McGinley.
It was far from a clean connection from McCann but it was enough to nestle in the bottom corner and the manner of the concession would’ve been one that caused considerable consternation for the Donegal management with little or no pressure having been put on the ball. Tyrone scored 1-19 from play in all.
The goal was perhaps a soundbite for the lack of bite in the Donegal performance. The damage might’ve been worse in the end. McGinley in the Donegal goal made excellent saves in the first half from Sean Cavanagh and then after half-time to dent Rory Brennan. In injury time Ryan McHugh saved on the line from Darren McCurry to prevent a second Tyrone goal.
When Michael Carroll did manage to grab a goal for Donegal with eight minutes to go it was merely a prelude to that announcement that tells all stewards to get to their end of match positions. The match was over long before then.
And yet, for the majority of the first half, it looked as though the wafer-thin margins that has been a feature of the championship meetings of the neighbouring counties would be evident again.
The side managed by Mickey Harte did their damage in the final 10 minutes of the first half, when they turned a 0-5 to 0-5 parity into a seven-point half-time lead at 0-12 to 0-5.
When Sean Cavanagh swung over a free in the 37th minute of the half, it was the first dead ball that Tyrone had scored in front of 22,609 supporters at the Monaghan venue.
Donegal had given as much as they got to begin with, leading 0-2 to 0-0 and then 0-4 to 0-2 with Patrick McBrearty and Michael Murphy scoring twice apiece. The Donegal captain’s second score was from a top drawer, floating over a snapshot with little backlift from almost 50 metres on 12 minutes.
However, Tyrone were always in the contest and just before that Murphy score, Donegal had goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley to thank to a brave one-on-one save from a Sean Cavanagh belter after Colm Cavanagh had set his brother away.
Mark Bradley and Peter Harte brought Tyrone on terms at 0-4 to 0-4 before what might’ve been the turning point of the match. Murphy, involved in a fascinating battle of wits at kick-outs with Colm Cavanagh, won clean ball and set Eoin McHugh away.
McHugh had too much acceleration for the Tyrone defence, particularly Mattie Donnelly at the end but tried to be precise with his shot having done the hard work and his shot flew wide of Niall Morgan’s goal.
The tit-for-that nature of the first half continued with Tyrone went in front for the first time on 22 minutes when Tiernan McCann pointed, only for Marty O’Reilly to level it again at five each.
From then on though, it was one-way traffic. Tyrone were finding avenues inside and had the prowess to kick from out and duly popped over seven points in succession.
Among those efforts, there were scores of real class. Padraig Hampsey popped over from long range, Peter Harte sold a dummy of substance to create the opening for himself and Kieran McGeary showed his qualities with a score of the outside of the boot.
Hamspey, who had been detailed to pick up Murphy from open play with Colm Cavanagh contesting the kick-outs, got into space and almost scored the opening goal of the afternoon, only to miscue for a point.
Donegal, who threw on Lacey for Jason McGee, saw an inkling of a goal chance late in the half, only for Cathal McCarron to block.
Undoubtedly with the words of their manager ringing in their ways, Donegal needed something to reignite their hopes. But when McCann netted it merely extinguished them completely.
From then on there was a pedestrian feel with Tyrone ringing the changes and scoring when the notion seemed to hit them. Bradley, Donnelly, the impressive McGeary, Ronan O’Neill and Niall Sludden all scored at sporadic intervals.
A deflated Donegal scored just twice through McBrearty and a Murphy 45 before Carroll’s goal, which was a case of too little, too late. Hugh McFadden added to Langan’s late point moments after a wonderful catch in his own square from Colm Cavanagh.
The 45 was duly converted by Morgan, the Tyrone goalkeeper, with only his side’s second placed ball of the day.
So, for the first time since 2010, Donegal are in the early rounds of the qualifiers and will have to await their fate come Monday morning on RTE Radio One.
The A side of the draw, further down the line if Donegal make it that far, could include Mayo, Meath and Clare but for now, Donegal will probably be looking at themselves and not others.
Donegal: Mark Anthony McGinley; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Ryan McHugh, Frank McGlynn, Eamonn Doherty; Michael Murphy (0-3, 2 ‘45’), Jason McGee; Michael Carroll (1-0), Martin O’Reilly (0-1), Ciaran Thompson, Eoin McHugh; Patrick McBrearty (0-6, 2f), Jamie Brennan. Subs: Karl Lacey for McGee (32), Martin Mc Elhinney and Hugh McFadden (0-1) for McGlynn and Brennan (half-time), Cian Mulligan for Thompson (39), Kieran Gillespie for Doerhty (48), Michael Langan (0-1) for E McHugh (61).
Tyrone: Niall Morgan (0-1, 45); Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey (0-2); Tiernan McCann (1-1), Cathal McCarron, Peter Harte (0-2); Colm Cavanagh, Conall McCann; Kieran McGeary (0-3), Niall Sludden (0-4), David Mulgrew (0-1); Mark Bradley (0-2), Sean Cavanagh (0-1 1f), Mattie Donnelly (0-2). Subs: Darren McCurry for Bradley (45, black card), Rory Brennan for Mulgrew (48), Declan McClure (0-1) for C McCann (52), Cathal McShane and Ronan O’Neill (0-1) for S Cavanagh and McGeary (57), Justin McMahon for Harte (70+2)
Referee: David Geogh (Meath)Tags: