Brian McEniff's Donegal ended Tyrone's participation in the Ulster Senior Football Championship today with an excellent 1-11 to 0-09 victory, despite being reduced to 14 men during the first half.
In a dull opening half, Donegal had hit three wides, while Tyrone hit one by the time Owen Mulligan opened the scoring for the Champions. After a quarter of an hour the score remained the same and it took until the 18th minute for the game's second point, again for Tyrone, this time via the boot of Brian McGuigan.
Colm McFadden, one of three early Donegal free takers, eventually opened Donegal's account after 23 minutes and he continued with the free taking responsibility there after.
Mark Harte then struck another Tyrone point just before the half hour mark after another Donegal attack faltered in midfield. Indeed any progress upfield was hard fought with Tyrone working so hard and defending in numbers. So it was no surprise that Donegal's next point came from another McFadden free.
Then Donegal's Niall McReady was sent off. Owen Mulligan went down under a hefty challenge from McReady, who received a yellow card for the foul. The pair then tangled again when Mulligan got up after treatment and when McReady dragged Mulligan to the ground in front of the referee he received his marching orders. Mulligan then rubbed salt into Donegal wounds by adding a free immediately afterwards to open up a 0-04 to 0-02 lead.
Brian Roper eventually opened Donegal's scoring from play, showing good balance and skill to send the ball over for the point of the game up untill that point and send the teams into the break with Tyrone one point to the good.
After the restart Donegal's Brendan Boyle was fouled by Conor Gourmley, who received a yellow card for the effort, and McFadden punished Tyrone to hit the first score of the half from the resulting free.
Adrian Sweeney then fed Christy Toye shortly after and he put the ball over to give Donegal the lead for the first time in the game. And another two McFadden pointed frees shortly after saw Donegal open up a three point lead.
Donegal were really on fire now and Brendan Devenney struck a lovely cross-field pass for Barry Monaghan who sent his shot over and the pressure was really on Tyrone. Adrian Sweeney then quickly fed McFadden from a free and he nonchalantly stroked the ball over from a tight angle.
Tyrone then struck their first point of the half and it was much needed as Donegal really had their tails up, it was a massive point from Gerard Cavlan.
Tyrone needed a goal though, but it was Donegal who got one. McFadden was the scorer and he showed composure and skill to beat his marker and blast low past John Devine in the Tyrone goal. Tyrone responded with a pointed free from Stephen O'Neill only to see McFadden again add to his tally with another free for a 1-10 to 0-06 Donegal advantage and Tyrone fans started to look to the substitutes bench where Pater Canavan sat.
O'Neill added his second point to reduce the deficit with ten minutes to go and when Tyrone did made a change it wasn't Canavan who came on, instead Colin Holmes replaced Kevin Hughes.
Tyrone now needed a goal badly but Donegal were standing firm and defending as if they had the extra man. Mulligan did manage another free, while James Sweeney struck one from play and Tyrone were only four points adrift.
Every ball was now being fiercely contested and when Donegal were awarded another free within striking distance McFadden fittingly sent it over for the last score of the game.
Donegal now go on to the Ulster final against Armagh in Croke Park on July 11th.
Filed by Johnny Proby