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Eoghan Bán Gallagher, left, and Frank McGlynn of Donegal celebrate after the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship semi-final match between Donegal and Tyrone at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan.
Eoghan Bán Gallagher, left, and Frank McGlynn of Donegal celebrate after the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship semi-final match between Donegal and Tyrone at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan.

Ulster SFC semi-final: Donegal outplay Tyrone

Ulster SFC semi-final


By Orla Bannon at Kingspan Breffni

Donegal avenged three championship defeats in a row by Tyrone and turned the tables on the Red Hands with a storming performance in Cavan to advance to the Ulster SFC final.

The defending provincial champions had more to spare over a lacklustre Tyrone than the scoreline suggests, with the platform laid by Jamie Brennan's sparkling 1-3 from play in the opening half.

Tyrone failed to contain the Bundoran livewire and his early dominance allowed others to grow slowly into the game.

Michael Murphy and Paddy McBrearty finished the game stronger than they started, and all over the field Donegal men drove at their opposite number, taking men on and ripping huge holes in Tyrone's rearguard.

A complete kickout malfunction by Tyrone on their own kickouts combined with Donegal gathering almost all of their own put Tyrone under serious pressure.

In a surprisingly error-strewn performance, they were chasing the game and taking on low percentage goal chances from early on.

A point from Mattie Donnelly after 16 seconds suggested great things from Tyrone, but they were already 1-3 to 0-3 down when they lost Peter Harte to a controversial black card after 10 minutes.

Brennan rattled the Tyrone net after just four minutes, McBrearty sliding through a precision pass that took out three defenders, and he dropped the ball onto his right foot and buried a low shot past Morgan.

Donegal, with last year's Super 8s' loss to Tyrone in Ballybofey still fresh in the memory, kicked on with Tyrone's early plan to hit Cathal McShane failing to produce the goods. It worked the first few times but Donegal reacted by double-marking him and his influence waned.

Tyrone, however, could do nothing with Brennan and he almost nailed a second goal, but his piledriver across Morgan smashed off the woodwork and away to safety.

Michael Langan, Eoin McHugh and Brennan piled on the misery as Donegal romped to a 1-9 to 0-5 interval lead.

Brian Kennedy and Richie Donnelly had tried to cut into that deficit by going for goal but the shots were at a nice height and easily saved by Shaun Patton.

It was anticipated Tyrone would come with a third-quarter surge and while Darren McCurry made some impact off the bench with 0-3, fellow subs Connor McAliskey and Niall Sludden added little.

Hugh McFadden's 67th point put Donegal six points clear, at 1-15 to 0-12, and while Tyrone rallied with late points from McCurry, Richie Donnelly and Michael Cassidy to cut it to three, Donegal's game-management was superb.

Murphy rose into the skies, took a kickout, and Eoghan Ban Gallagher and McBrearty combined to put defender Stephen McMenamin through to pop the ball over the bar for an easy insurance point.

Donegal are now one game away from back-to-back Ulster titles, and await the winner of Sunday's Cavan v Armagh semi-final replay in the decider on June 23.

Scorers for Donegal: Jamie Brennan 1-3, Michael Murphy 0-5 (2f, one '45'), Paddy McBrearty 0-3 (1f), Stephen McMenamin, Ryan McHugh, Hugh McFadden, Eoin McHugh, Michael Lanagan 0-1 each

Scorers for Tyrone: Cathal McShane 0-4 (3f), Darren McCurry 0-3 (1f), Kieran McGeary, Richard Donnelly 0-2 each, Niall Morgan 0-2 (1f, one '45') Michael Cassidy, Mattie Donnelly 0-1 each

DONEGAL: Shaun Patton; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Stephen McMenamin; Ryan McHugh, Niall O'Donnell, Eoghan Ban Gallagher; Hugh McFadden, Jason McGee; Eoin McHugh, Leo McLoone, Jamie Brennan; Paddy McBrearty, Michael Murphy, Michael Langan. Subs: Ciaran Thompson for McGee (16), Daire O Baoill for E McHugh (39), Frank McGlynn for McLoone (48), Oisin Gallen for O'Donnell (52), Paul Brennan for Jamie Brennan (65)

TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Padraig Hampsey, Ronan McNamee, Michael McKernan; Tiernan McCann, Ben McDonnell, Brian Kennedy; Colm Cavanagh, Richard Donnelly; Matthew Donnelly, Kieran McGeary, Frank Burns; Cathal McShane, Peter Harte, Liam Rafferty. Subs: Connor McAliskey for Harte (BC, 10), Niall Sludden for Cavanagh (HT), Rory Brennan for Rafferty (HT), Darren McCurry for McDonnell (40), Michael Cassidy for Burns (50), Aidan McCrory for McCann (55)

Ref: David Gough (Meath)

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