Nicky Rackard cup holders Tyrone turned in a quality all-round performance to beat Ulster neighbours Donegal 1-12 to 0-11 in Saturday’s first round encounter at rain-lashed Letterkenny.
After two previous meetings in the league play-off that eventually saw Donegal win, on this occasion Mattie Lennon’s side looked fresher, hungrier and were good value for their four point win.
Captain Damien Casey topscored again and was delighted with the response from his players after two tough outings against Donega.
“We let ourselves down against them the last day and we all knew there was more in us, Donegal are a good team but, for us, it was great to get over the line and get that win. We showed spirit and are determined to do well in this competition again” stated the Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh star.
In conditions more akin to February rather than May, it was Tyrone who adapted to the conditions better with Casey’s first half goal putting his side in control and, while there were brief glimpses of the power and purpose of Donegal, it was the visitors who impressed with midfield dominance, defensive stability and a constant scoring threat.