GAA: Donegal minors prove too strong for Tyrone

Donegal's Kane Barrett and Tyrone's Christopher McGuigan and Ciaran McGlinchey. Pic: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com
Donegal's Kane Barrett and Tyrone's Christopher McGuigan and Ciaran McGlinchey. Pic: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com

Donegal 1-11 Tyrone 0-8

Tyrone disappointingly failed to score in the second half as they made their widely-predicted exit from 2015 Ulster Minor football championship.

The Red Hands had been massive underdogs leading up to the contest, with Donegal hailed by many within their county as one of the best they have ever had.

Donegal's Michael Carroll and Tyrone's Johnny Harkin and Colin Campbell. Pic: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye

Donegal's Michael Carroll and Tyrone's Johnny Harkin and Colin Campbell. Pic: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye

The Red Hand boys held their own in the first half, however, leading by two late in the first half before going in at the break on level terms.

Donega, nonetheless, made a couple of adjustments at midfield for the second half and thereafter really controlled proceedings as Tyrone struggled to find any penetration in attack.

While Tyrone started with the same 15 players selected in the match programme, their positioning was somewhat different right from the off.

Manager Mickey Donnelly opted to play with a two-man fullforward line, with Fintan McClure and Cormac O’Hagan playing inside and Conan McLernon playing a little deeper.

Donegal's Kane Barrett and Tyrone's James Darcy.  Pic: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com

Donegal's Kane Barrett and Tyrone's James Darcy. Pic: Lorcan Doherty / Presseye.com

Donegal made one late change to their team, with Kilcar’s Conor Doherty coming into the corner-forward Mark Coyle. And he made an instant impact on the game, kicking a point in the opening minute off his left foot to give the Tir Connaill men the lead.

Things got worse for Donnelly’s charges a minute later as a surging run from Naoise O Baoill caused confusion in the Tyrone defence and although the ball spilled loose and Doherty was on hand to finish to the back of Brendan Gallen’s net.

Tyrone began to get to grips with Donegal and opened their account after four minutes, Johnny Harkin getting forward from wing back to score a fine point.

Doherty was involved again in the next move as he was fouled allowing Ethan O’Donnell to swing over a point from a free.

Tyrone’s dominance in terms of possession was beginning to be reflected on the scoreboard as the half went on with Conan McLernon and James Darcy both swinging over efforts to reduce the deficit.

Rory Carr responded for Declan Bonner’s men but Tyrone, were to get the next five points as they seized control.

With Tyrone on top at midfield, Tomas Carney and David Mulgrew were able to pull the strings of the Tyrone attack moving the ball across the blanket defence.

Conan McLernon and Ryan Coleman were able to take advantage as Coleman once, and McLernon twice added to the Tyrone tally.

Fintan McClure swung over a fine point from the wing as Tyrone began to look like they might give the Donegal lads a scare.

Another point from McLernon in the 25th minute moved Tyrone into a two-point lead but it was to prove the young Red Hands’ lastscore of the entire contest.

Tomas Carney had taken a bang to the head shortly before that Tyrone point and he would have to exit the game.

Donegal took advantage of the absence and kicked two late points at the end of the half, Rory Carr on target with a 45 and then Kane Barrett converting a free to leave the sides deadlocked at the interval.

Both sides made changes at the break but it was Donegal who had the better of the exchanges and restarted the scoring in the 38th minute when Daire O Baoill fired over an effort from play.

More would follow as a Barrett free and a Neil O’Donnell point from play stretched the Donegal advantage.

Barrett added another as Tyrone struggled to get a meaningful shot in the direction of the Donegal goalposts.

Late points from Rory Carr, via his second 45, and Neil O’Donnell left Donegal well in command as Paul Faloon mercifully brought proceedings to a close.

A clearly disappointed Mickey Donnelly said: “Listen we played pretty well up until half time. We should have had our nosesin front. We were two up coming up to half time and psychologically for all the work we’d done to go in level was a bit of a kick in the teeth.”

The Aghaloo clubman went on: “We played fairly well in the first half but Donegal were excellent in the second half. They came out very, very strong in the second half.”

Donnelly pointed out were he believed Donegal’s success in the second half lay.

“What Donegal did very well was strip us off the ball in that middle third in the second half. When they get the ball there, they’re very good at working openings and finishing the job.”