Eight points, six of them from play from the accurate boot of Michael ‘ Sticky ‘ Ward saw the Donegal Masters through to their second win in two after this hard fought two point win over a very good and determined Tyrone team at the excellent facilities of Colaiste Ailigh in Letterkenny on Saturday afternoon. DONEGAL 2 – 13 V 2 – 11 TYRONE. Two super goals in two minutes from Glenswilly’s John McFadden and St. Michael’s Brian McLaughlin which saw Donegal turn what had been a five point deficit after fifteen minutes into a two point lead ten minutes later were also key factors in this Donegal victory. Tony Donaghy had given Tyrone the lead after just 20 seconds and it was the 8th minute before Aodh Rua’s Ward got Donegal back on level terms. Wind assisted Tyrone then took control with five points in a row. Mark Donnelly with a free , Donaghy again , Andy Donnelly Conrad Quinn and Damian Patton all from play made it 0-06 to 0-01 for the visitors and deservedly so. Donegal hit back in some style and Glenswilly’s Charley Bonner should have goaled but pulled his shot wide from 12 yards out. Two minutes later his clubmate John Mc Fadden made no mistake, starting and finishing an excellent move with a rasping shot to the roof of the net and two minutes after that Brian Mc Laughlin beat his marker to the ball and then keeper Kieran Leonard with a cracker to the top corner to make it 2-02 to 0-06. Benny Cassidy pushed the Donegal lead out to three with a fine score but Damian McGrory replied quickly for Tyrone . However despite the wind in their faces Donegal finished the half in style with one from McLaughlin and two more from Ward, all from play , to leave it 2-06 to 0-07 in Donegal’s favour at the break. Charlie Collins from Colaiste Ailigh Sports ground. That got better for Val Murray’s men in the opening three minutes of the second-half with another Mickey Ward point and then a Brillant score from Benny Cassidy off the outside of his right boot from distance, an seven point lead for the home team but that didn’t last long. Mark Donnelly and Declan Quinn kicked over frees and then Donnelly’s quick exchange of hand passes set up Damien Patton who hammered the ball to the net, game on again. Ward and Donnelly exchanged frees and then Donegal hit another purple patch, Charley Bonner , Cassidy and two more from Ward to bring his tally to eight made it 2-13 to 1-10 with five minutes left but Tyrone weren’t finished. Adrian Harley finished off a excellent move by slotting the ball past Martin Gillespie and Eamonn McIlroy pointed a free to leave just two in with two minutes left. And the visitors could have won it in the last minute when Donnelly’s pass found Patton and although the angle was narrow Martin Gillespie still had to make an excellent save at his feet to deny the Tyrone man what would have been a winning goal. That would have been tough on Donegal who after the opening fifteen minutes were the better team and just about deserved the victory. Val Murray’s men now head for London in two weeks hoping to make it three wins on the trot and a great start to their Masters campaign. DONEGAL ; Martin Gillespie , Charlie Doherty , Donal Martin , Ross Brady , Maurice Mc Bride , Sean Mc Daid , Michael McShane , David Mc Shane , Charlie Gallagher , Kerry Ryan , John McFadden ( 1-0 ), Charley Bonner ( 0-01 ), Mickey Ward ( 0-08 2f ) , Brian Mc Laughlin ( 1-01 ), Sean Boyce. SUBS USED ; Paul Gallagher , Benny Cassidy ( 0-03 ), Packie McGrath , Aiden McColgan , P J Gallagher , Brian Mc Cabe , Paul Mc Glynn , Seamus Farren and Mark Mc Shane. TYRONE ; Kieran Leonard , Gerry Mc Kenna , Gerard Mc Williams , Sean Wilson , Paul Sweeney , Terry Donnelly , Mark Gallagher , Eoghan Gormley , Eamonn Mc Ilroy ( 0-01 ), Andy Donnelly ( 0-01 ), Damian Patton ( 1-01 ), Conrad Quinn ( 0-01 ), Raymond Mc Callion , Mark Donnelly (0-03f ), Tony Donaghy ( 0-02 ). SUBS USED ; Damian Wilson , Damian Mc Grory ( 0-01 ), Declan Quinn ( 0-01 ) , Stephen Doohan , Adrian Harley ( 1-0 ), Raymond Gormley. REFEERE; Eugene Mc Hale.
Author of 'Boxing In Donegal: A History (2021)' - the definitive history of the sport in County Donegal - and 'Relentless: A Race Through Time', the 2019 memoir of former Irish Athletics Team Manager Patsy McGonagle. From St Johnston and now based in Letterkenny, Chris was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.