Tyrone hammer Donegal to reach Ulster final

Eoghan Ban Gallagher of Donegal is surrounded by four Tyrone men
Eoghan Ban Gallagher of Donegal is surrounded by four Tyrone men


A scoreline you would never expect to see in an Ulster Championship match between these great rivals, writes Colm Keys.

After so many tight, tense battles in this decade it took a most unusual twist in Clones as Tyrone eased their to an Ulster final with a comprehensive win that even they couldn't have imagined possible.

Right to the end, when Ryan McHugh had to scramble to deny Darren McCurry, there were so many goal chances on a day when both sides found gaps so easy to pile through.

But it was the composure and control of Tyrone that stood out as they took control midway through the first half and dominated with Colm Cavanagh, Niall Sludden, Kieran Mcgeary and Mattie Donnelly really influential.

Long before the end there was little doubt about the result as Donegal's young team really struggled.

Both sides will feel they should have come away from the first half with goals, Donegal's Eoin McHugh especially after burning a clear path through the Tyrone defence only to screw wide from close range in the 16th minute.

The sides were level, 0-4 each at that stage, the value of a goal then could not be underestimated.

Four minutes earlier, with space more generous than it has been in these games, Colm Cavanagh claimed a kick-out and sent brother Sean through a similar gap but a thundering shot was well saved by Mark Anthony McGinley.

As the half progressed Tyrone stamped their authority most impressively with a host of really well taken long-range scores and it was as good as they have produced in a long time as Donegal hit a rut they couldn't get out of.

Defender Padraig Hamspey pushed forward to score two and from 0-5 each in the 22nd minute Tyrone scored seven in succession to take in a 0-12 to 0-5 interval lead.

By the end of the half nine different scorers had contributed to Tyrone's 12-point total with 11 from play, as impressive in their execution as they were in their construction.

The second half was little different as Tyrone kept on the front foot.

Donegal eventually broke through for a goal, courtesy of Michael Carroll but it was a sobering day for them.

Scorers - Tyrone: N Sludden 0-4, T McCann 1-1, K McGeary 0-3, P Hampsey, P Harte, M Bradley, M Donnelly all 0-2 each, D Mulgrew, S Cavanagh (f), N Morgan (45), R O'Neill, C McShane all 0-1 each.

Donegal: P McBrearty 0-6 (2fs), M Carroll 1-0, M Murphy 0-3 (2 45s), M Langan, M Reilly, H McFadden all 0-1 each.

Tyrone: N Morgan; A McRory, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann, P Hampsey, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C McCann; K McGeary, N Sludden, D Mulgrew; M Bradley, S Cavanagh, M Donnely. Subs: D McCurry for Bradley (43),R Brennan for Mulgrew (47), D McClure for C McCann ((51), R O'Neill for S Cavanagh (57), C McShane for McGeary (57), J McMahon for Harte (71).

Donegal: MA McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, F McGlynn; E Doherty, M O'Reilly, E B Gallagher; J McGee, M Murphy; C Thompson, R McHugh, E McHugh; P McBrearty, J Brennan, M Carroll. Subs: K Lacey for J McGee (31), M McElhiney for J Brennan (h-t), H McFadden for McGlynn (h-t), C Mulligan for Thompson (39), K Gillespie for Doherty (47), M Langan for E McHugh (61), P Brennan for Carroll blood (63-64)

Referee: David Gough (Meath)