Donegal won their first Buncrana Cup since 2013 as Rory Kavanagh’s team overcame Tyrone in the final at The Scarvey.
Donegal 1-13 Tyrone 1-12
Eoin De Burca’s goal, late in the first half, proved to be the big score in a game that Donegal led from the first minute to the last.
A Daniel Fullerton penalty, deep into added time at the end, put a gloss on the scoreline with Donegal having the deserved advantage given by De Burca’s goal.
The Gaoth Dobhair wing-back found himself in space after good approach work by the lively Carlos O’Reilly on 28 minutes.
De Burca still had work to do, but his finish gave Stephen McMenamin no chance, as he slotted a low effort into the far corner to give Donegal a five-point buffer at half-time.
Donegal raced into a four-point lead by the 11th minute with Naomh Columba’s Eric Carr firing over a brace and Luke Doherty kept his cool to land two frees.
Donegal, though, lost their way a little and Tyrone crept back up on them.
The lively Mark Devlin, who had starred for Holy Trinity of Cookstown in their All-Ireland final win earlier in the year, helped bring the Red Hands back into it.
Devlin, Shea Daly and Shea Browne had Tyrone within a point, but O’Reilly ended a mini Donegal famine when he struck.
It was nip and tuck until the decisive goal from de Burca just as the interval approached.
Doherty’s third free of the evening had Donegal 1-6 to 0-4 in front at the short whistle.
Donegal had beaten Monaghan 4-10 to 0-8 in a lopsided semi-final in Letterkenny a couple of weeks ago when O’Reilly, Johnny McGroddy, Carr and Shane Monaghan netted the majors.
Donegal were looking to atone for a final loss to Tyrone in the 2017 final and aiming to land the prize for the first time since 2013, when a team including Stephen McMenamin, Michael Carroll, Daire Ó Baoill, Michael Langan and Rory Carr overcame Tyrone.
Eric Carr drilled over a free just after the re-start but a revival by the visitors brought them back to within a score as Daniel Fullerton (2) and Ronan McHugh made a game of it.
Goalkeeper Daithi Roberts arrowed over a long-range free and when Carr delightfully slotted over from the right flank, Donegal’s five-point advantage had been restored.
Midfielder Eoin Dowling riffled over nine minutes from the end, but Fullerton’s free taking was keeping Tyrone in with a fighter’s chance.
There was late drama when, after Kealan Dunleavy and Carr seemed to have it wrapped up, Fullerton converted a penalty, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Donegal: Daithi Roberts (0-1f); Richard O’Rourke, Shane Meehan, Dylan Dorrian; Eoin de Burca (1-0), Jack Gallagher, Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhride; Eoin Dowling (0-1), Kealan Dunleavy (0-1); Carlos O’Reilly (0-1), Senan Rooney, Ciaran Moore; Johnny McGroddy, Luke Doherty (0-4f), Eric Carr (0-5, 3f). Subs: Kieran Tobin for Gallagher (7), Jamie Grant for Meehan (15), Connor Roarty for Dorrian (55).
Tyrone: Stephen McMenamin; Seamus Sweeney, Caolan Mulgrew, Niall Devlin; Packie Quinn, Shea Daly (0-1), Brian Conway; Michael McGleenan, Miceal McCann; Aaron McGrath, Daniel Fullerton (1-5, 1-0pen, 5f), Eoin Montgomery; Ronan McHugh (0-2), Mark Devlin (0-1), Shea Browne (0-2f). Subs: Ethan Neill (0-1) for Quinn (39), Shea Gallagher for McGrath (46), Rory Burns for Montgomery (46)
Referee: Mark McGeehan (Derry)