DONEGAL 0-13 TYRONE 1-18
TYRONE cruised into the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Championship by virtue of an emphatic eight point victory over old adversaries Donegal on Saturday night in Ballybofey.
The Red Hands bossed proceedings for the most part, a goal in the early stages from Ruairi Canavan providing them with the platform to push on.
Canavan found the back of the net in the second minute, after keeper Shanun Patton spilled Darren McCurry’s delivery. It arrived just seconds after the scorer blasted an even better opportunity off target.
Despite Patrick McBrearty (making a surprise start) responding with a Donegal free, the visitors pushed ahead and led 1-3 to 0-1 after ten minutes. Darren McCurry, Michael McKernan and Darragh Canavan underlined the early confidence with which Tyrone went about their business with fine finishes.
Oisin Gallen (free) and Odhran Doherty responded for the hosts, but in the main their attack struggled to break free ftom the strangelhold which the likes of Ronan McNamee and Padraig Hampsey placed on them.
It was an absorbing and open encounter, unlike many of the turgid arm-wrestles these rivals have engaged in over the past two decades.
McCurry (free) and McBrearty traded scores though as the half unfolded Tyrone’s wide county began to tally up, which enabled the home side to remain very much in contention.
The adventurous McKernan darted through to fire over his second point, but Gallen and McBrearty (free) split the posts at the other end to leave it 1-5 to 0-6 after 26 minutes.
Tyrone however dominated the closing stages of the first period, looking to hit their opponents on the counter-attack. Darragh Canavan continued his rich vein of form of late with three further points, while Matthew Donnelly also clipped one over with typical aplomb.
Excellent points from the lively Gallen and corner back Caolan McColgan ensured Donegal still had reason to be optimistic at the break, though they trailed 1-10 to 0-8.
A brace of McCrurry frees and superb Darragh Canavn point from out on the right wing stretched Tyrone to an eight point cushion but there was still a kick in Donegal with Ciaran Thompson, Gallen and keeper Shaun Patton (’45’) registering in quick succession.
Having surrendered a few leads this season, the Red Hands were not going to be denied on this occasion. Matthew Donnelly hoisted two sublime efforts, while Conn Kilpatrick capped a barnstorming burst by rifling over.
Donegal’s forlorn evening was epitomised when keeper Shaun Patton was red carded right at the death following an altercation with Michael McKernan.
For Tyrone it’s onto Croke Park for the quarter-finals next weekend with the draw to be held on Monday morning.
Teams & Scorers
Shaun Patton, Mark Curran, Brendan McCole, Caolan McColgan (0-1), Caolan Ward, Eoghan Ban Gallagher (0-1), Stephen McMenamin, Caolan McGonagle, Hugh McFadden, Daire O Baoill, Jamie Brennan, Ciaran Thompson (0-2), Odhran Doherty (0-1), Oisin Gallen (0-4,1free), Patrick McBrearty (0-3,2 frees). Subs used: Jason McGee for O Doherty (h-time), Luke McGlynn (0-1) for E Gallagher (43), Rory O’Donnell for H McFadden (46), Brian O’Donnell for C McColgan (60)
Niall Morgan, Michael McKernan (0-2), Ronan McNamee, Padraig Hampsey, Cormac Quinn, Michael O’Neill, Peter Harte, Brian Kennedy (0-1), Conn Kilpatrick (0-1), Conor Meyler, Kieran McGeary, Ruairi Canavan (1-1), Darren McCurry (0-4,3frees), Matthew Donnelly (0-3), Darragh Canavan (0-6, 2 frees). Subs used: Frank Burns for K McGeary (55), Richard Donnelly for D Canavan (60), Niall Devlin for R Canavan (70)
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)