Ulster SFC: Donegal edge out Tyrone
Ulster SFC quarter-final
DONEGAL 1-13 TYRONE 1-11
By Chris McNulty in Ballybofey
DONEGAL emerged from the soaking, muddy trenches scarred but still sanding.
The champions squeezed past their old foes Tyrone in a battle for the ages.
Given the win-or-bust nature of this Championship, the year was on the line and, for Donegal, their hold on the Anglo Celt.
Seven points from Ciarán Thompson and a goal in the first half by Michael Langan were key moments on an afternoon that had its share.
Donegal led by two points at half-time but a Darragh Canavan goal, seven minutes into the second half, turned the tide momentarily.
The greasy conditions caught out Eoghan Ban Gallagher, who was unable hold onto the short pass from his goalkeeper Shaun Patton, and Canavan - son of Tyrone legend Peter Canavan - coolly finished.
Donegal’s response was perfect, though.
Jamie Brennan, Ciarán Thompson (2) and Michael Langan - their first-half goalscorer - kicked four points in the next six minutes to restore their lead.
Frank Burns brought Tyrone to within a point and Mark Bradley, who had just been sent into the action, levelled for the Red Hands.
Ten minutes from the end, Stephen McMenamin hacked off the goal line as Conor McKenna seemed set to net for the visitors.There was a suggestion that the ball was over the line when McMenamin intervened but Donegal breathed the sigh of relief.
Peter Harte equalised seconds later and, heading down the home stretch, there was nothing between them.
Donegal kept Patrick McBrearty, who had been named in the original starting XV, in reserve, while Tyrone’s bid to have suspended defender Rory Brennan cleared was rejected by the Disputes Resolution Authority.
Ciarán Thompson’s seventh point of the day edged Donegal ahead and Oisin Gallen, the young Sean MacCumhaills player, arched over an insurance score.
Donegal lit the fuse with a goal on 25 minutes. Patton arrowed an 80-metre kick-out perfectly into the path of the rampaging Peadar Mogan on the opposite ’45.
Langan was scampering in support and, after taking the pass, he kept his cool to fire high past Niall Morgan.
It was a wonderful curling point by Langan moments earlier that began Donegal’s revival.
Jamie Brennan and Paul Brennan kicked Donegal in front, but it remained firmly in the melting pot even when Ciarán Thompson’s free, with the final kick of the first half, put Donegal 1-5 to 0-6 ahead at the changeover.
Thompson had got Donegal off the mark with an 11th minute free after Darren McCurry (2) and Mattie Donnelly had Tyrone three in front. Donegal had a let off when McCurry intercepted a kick-out that was intended for Championship debutant Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí to open the scoring after three minutes.
Tyrone began well but it was Donegal who ended with their noses, just, in front.
Scorers for Donegal: Ciarán Thompson (5f) 0-7, Michael Langan 1-12, Jamie Brennan 0-2, Paul Brennan, Oisin Gallen 0-1 each
Scorers for Tyrone: Canavan 1-1, Darren McCurry (1f) 0-3, Mark Bradley 0-2, Mattie Donnelly, Niall Morgan (f), Conor McKenna (f), Frank Burns, Peter Harte 0-1 each
Donegal: Shaun Patton; Stephen McMenamin, Neil McGee, Eoghan Bán Gallagher; Ryan McHugh, Paul Brennan, Peadar Mogan; Hugh McFadden, Caolan McGonigle; Ciarán Thompson, Niall O’Donnell, Michael Langan; Jeaic Mac Ceallabhui, Michael Murphy, Jamie Brennan. Subs: Eoin McHugh for Mac Ceallabhuí (23), Andrew McClean for McGee (half-time), Oisin Gallen for O’Donnell (44), Paddy McGrath for P.Brennan (53), Jason McGee for McGonigle (69).
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Liam Rafferty, Ronan McNamee, Frank Burns; Tiernan McCann, Michael O’Neill, Michael McKiernan; Brian Kennedy, Matthew Donnelly; Kieran McGeary, Conor McKenna, Conor Meyler; Darren McCurry, Peter Harte, Darragh Canavan. Subs: Mark Bradley for McCurry (50), Richard Donnelly for O’Neill (53), Pádraig Hampsey for Kennedy (55), Niall Sludden for Canavan (63).
Ref: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).