Donegal impress in win over Tyrone with O’Donnell and McKelvey goals proving key
MAYBE DONEGAL ARE nowhere near as bad as they showed against Kerry, and maybe Tyrone are finding life hard to adjust to as champions.
Either way, you could have thought the opposite of both those things as the game took shape in the middle of the first half as Tyrone took control with five consecutive points to move four clear.
This was after a protracted break in play as Tyrone player Padraig McNulty was forced to leave the field on a stretcher after a heavy and awkward collision with Odhran McFadden-Ferry.
Without Michael Murphy, Donegal can often look like a phantom outfit, but just as he did last year against Armagh on a boiling night in the Athletic Grounds, Patrick McBrearty simply refused to go quietly into the night.
Finding himself in possession out on the right wing and with two defenders closing down his shooting opportunity, he played an ambitious give and go. He got on the end of it and squared to Conor O’Donnell to punch home.
That sparked his team mates, and the crowd in the stand, where the odd feisty and cross word was exchanged.
By the break, Donegal were level, 1-4 to 0-7. They had figured out what to do with Darragh Canavan too and without Cathal McShane until the hour mark, Tyrone were lacking something big.
Their management have time to sort it out, but their league form is puzzling. A break in the National League is coming up but after that they have Dublin in Omagh to take care of. Hmmm.
Momentum came in micro-moments after that. Conor O’Donnell took over for Donegal and hit three points from play into the breeze, Tyrone drawing level on four occasions but late substitute Oisin Gallen danced into the scoring zone to put Donegal ahead with four minutes left.
Cue eight more minutes of pure torture as Tyrone sought an equaliser. More often than not they presented to Darren McCurry who despite a strong performance, hit two wides and dropped one short as time ticked away.
The most clever thing Donegal did in the second half was move Ryan McHugh to full-forward, thereby taking Conor Meyler completely out of the game and diminishing the huge influence he was having in the first half. Tyrone will be careful with that move when the weather gets brighter.
The final moment came with a Donegal break. Peader Mogan burned down the endline before squaring to the inrushing Jeaic McKelvey who produced a full length dive to punch to the net.
Scorers for Donegal: Conor O’Donnell (1-3), Jeaic McKelvey (1-0), Patrick McBrearty (0-2, 1f), Ryan McHugh, Jason McGee, Shane O’Donnell, Oisn Gallen, Shaun Patton (0-1f) (0-1 each).
Scorers for Tyrone: Darren McCurry (0-4, 2f), Michael McKernan (0-2), Jonathan Munroe, Conn Kilpatrick, Darragh Canavan, Richard Donnelly, Cathal McShane (0-1 each)
Caolan Ward, Brendan McCole, Stephen McMenamin
Ryan McHugh, Eoghan Ban Gallagher, Odhran McFadden-Ferry
Hugh McFadden, Jason McGee
Shane O’Donnell, Peadar Mogan, Ciaran Thompson
Patrick McBrearty, Conor O’Donnell, Niall O’Donnell
Jeaic McKelvey for N O’Donnell (35m)
Oisin Gallen for McFadden (59m)
E O’Donnelly for S O’Donnell (67m)
Daire Ó Baoill for O McFadden-Ferry (67m)
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Michael McKernan, Padraig Hampsey, Frank Burns
Niall Sludden, Jonathan Munroe, Kieran McGeary
Conn Kilpatrick, Brian Kennedy
Nathan Donnelly, Darragh Canavan, Conor Meyler
Darren McCurry, Padraig McNulty, Paul Donaghy
Richard Donnelly for McNulty (22m)
Cathal McShane for Donaghy (56m)
Conor McKenna for McGeary (67m)
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)
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