Tyrone secured a vital victory over Donegal in an entertaining encounter at Omagh.
TYRONE 2-13 DONEGAL 1-10
Tyrone led 1-5 to 0-7 at the end of an action packed first half that was full of incident. Midfielder Odhran MacNiallais opened the scoring for the visitors with Mark Bradley levelling soon after.
Mark McHugh then hit a quality score and that was followed by another fabulous effort from MacNiallais for a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the seventh minute. Niall Sludden then charged through for a fine Tyrone score, but a Michael Murphy free was followed by an Eoghan Ban Gallagher effort from play as Donegal got on top.
Lee Brennan kept Tyrone in touch from a free with Murphy responding at the other end of the field from a placed ball as well. Brennan and Connor McAliskey cut the deficit to the minimum with a free each before a controversial moment arrived in the 31st minute.
Conor Meyler delivered a superb pass to Sludden who was hauled down by keeper Shaun Patton as he went around him.
Peter Harte stepped up to take the penalty, but a poor connection saw it go the wrong side of the right hand post. Murphy, who kicked three first half wides, landed another free and going into injury time it looked like Donegal would have their noses in front.
yrone had other ideas and a move involving Colm Cavanagh, McAliskey and Padraig McNulty resulted in Sludden firing low to the net to put Tyrone in front for the first time in the contest.
The hosts got the perfect start to the second half as well as Mark Bradley exchanged passes with Cathal McShane before brilliantly finishing low to the net.
McAliskey added two frees as Tyrone took a stranglehold on proceedings. Keeper Niall Morgan then left seven between the sides from a free before Donegal hit back when a flowing move ended with MacNiallais palming the ball to the net from close range. Substitute Stephen McBrearty left a score between them before a great point from Hugh McFadden closed it to two.
Tyrone, though, weren’t to be denied with Brennan, Cathal McShane and Cathal McShane all on target for a deserved win.
Scorers for Tyrone: Lee Brennan 0-5 (4fs), Niall Sludden 1-1, Mark Bradley 1-1, Connor McAliskey 0-3 (3fs), Peter Harte 0-1, Niall Morgan 0-1 (f), Cathal McShane 0-1.
Scorers for Donegal: Odhran MacNiallais 1-2, Michael Murphy 0-3 (3fs), Eoghan Ban Gallagher 0-1, Mark McHugh 0-1, Hugh McFadden 0-1, Eamon Doherty 0-1, Stephen McBrearty 0-1.
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Frank Burns, Hugh Pat McGeary, Cathal McCarron; Conor Meyler, Padraig Hampsey, Cathal McShane; Colm Cavanagh, Padraig McNulty; Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Peter Harte; Lee Brennan, Connor McAliskey, Mark Bradley.
Subs: Michael McKernan for McGeary (49), Kieran McGeary for McNulty (57), David Mulgrew for McAliskey (62), Darren McCurry for Bradley (66), Conall McCann for McShane (70), Rory Brennan for Meyler (73).
DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Conor Morrison, Stephen McMenamin, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Tony McCleneghan, Caolan Ward, Eamonn Doherty; Hugh McFadden, Odhran MacNiallais; Leo McLoone, Ryan McHugh, Mark McHugh; Ciaran Thompson, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan.
Subs: Daire O Baoill for Thompson (42), Martin McElhinney for McCleneghan (42), Stephen McBrearty for Mark McHugh (49), Frank McGlynn for Ward (57), Niall O’Donnell for Brennan (63), Michael Langan for MacNiallais (67).