Donegal beat Tyrone by double scores
Donegal 0-12 Tyrone 0-6
Five points on the spin at the end of the first half laid the foundations for Donegal to post a comfortable victory over Tyrone and move to joint-top of Division 1, writes Alan Foley.
Peter Harte’s two points in two minutes had brought Tyrone back on terms at 0-4 to 0-4 on 20 minutes but it was Donegal and not Tyrone who seized the initiative from then on.
Donegal had opened brightly on a wretched night in Ballybofey, with Ciaran Thompson knocking over two early scores and he was joined on the scoresheet by Frank McGlynn and Eoin McHugh.
But it was Donegal’s finish to the half that impressed the most. Ryan McHugh, Michael Murphy, Paddy McGrath, Hugh McFadden and the outstanding Thompson all scored to enable a 0-9 to 0-4 Donegal lead by the break.
Tyrone needed something and needed it fast and Sean Cavanagh scored the first point of the second half. However, the Ulster champions would score just once more in the contest and would go 33 minutes firing blanks.
Donegal, meanwhile, maintained their composure. With Justin McMahon flanking Murphy at every opportunity, the Tyrone centre-back joined the Donegal captain in referee David Coldrick’s notebook.
However, Mickey Harte couldn’t take the chance on McMahon getting punished again and was forced into a substitution. Donegal didn’t reach the same levels of proficiency after the interval but the spade work was already done. Points from Cian Mulligan, Ryan McHugh and McFadden sealed the six-point win.
Donegal, tipped by many as possible relegation candidates with such a turnover of players over the winter, now join Dublin and Tyrone at the top of the standings.
DONEGAL: Mark Anthony McGinley; Paddy McGrath (0-1), Neil McGee, Eamonn Doherty; Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Frank McGlynn (0-1), Paul Brennan; Michael Murphy (0-1f), Ciaran Thompson (0-3); Martin O’Reilly, Eoin McHugh (0-1), Ryan McHugh (0-2); Micheál Carroll, Hugh McFadden (0-2), Jamie Brennan. Subs: Cian Mulligan (0-1) for McGlynn (half-time), Mark McHugh for McGrath (56, black card), Martin McElhinney for McFadden (64), Michael Langan for P.Brennan (65), Brendan McCole for J.Brennan (70).
TYRONE: Mickey O’Neill; Cathal McShane, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann, Justin McMahon, Rory Brennan (0-1); Colm Cavanagh, Declan McClure; Niall Sludden, Kieran McGeary, Peter Harte (0-2, 1f); Mark Bradley, Sean Cavanagh (0-3, 2f), Matthew Donnelly. Subs: Conor Meyler for McShane (half-time), Pádraig Hampsey for McClure (half-time), Aidan McCrory for McMahon (45), Ronan O’Neill for Brennan (53), Jonathan Munroe for McCarron (59).
REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath)