Donegal halted Tyrone's bid for a third successive Ulster U20 football title with a hard-earned three points win at Healy Park.

Eoin Dowling's early goal provided the foundation as the visitors built up a seven-point lead, but the Red Hands fought back with a Rory Donnelly goal, reducing the gap to two points.

However, the Tir Chonail men defended heroically in the closing stages to hold on for a semi-final meeting with Monaghan.

Dowling finished off a sweeping move for a superbly taken Donegal goal in the eighth minute.

A Johnny McGroddy free eased them three ahead, and they led by 1-02 to 0-01 at the drinks break after the influential Jack Gallagher had created the opening for Ryan McFadden to float over a score.

A frustrating time for the Red Hands, during which Odhran Robinson was denied by goalkeeper Daithi Roberts, saw the visitors force a series of turnovers.

But after Luke Donnelly had converted his third free, scores from Oisin McCann and Robinson sparked their challenge.

However, a well organised Donegal side built from deep, and scores from McFadden, Shane O’Donnell and Dowling kept their noses in front

They led by 1-06 to 0-06 at the interval and a run of four scores, two of them from Padraig McGettigan, helped them to a seven-point advantage at the second drinks break.

But Tyrone responded, and Rory Donnelly smashed home a 50th minute goal to give them a flicker of hope.

However, Jamie Grant, Jack Gallagher and Paul O’Hare defended with authority, and Donegal broke away for Nathan Byrne and McGroddy to shoot late insurance scores.

Tyrone: M McGale; J Rafferty, L McBride, C Quinn; N Kilpatrick, K Barker, T Quinn; S Daly, O McCann (0-01); C Daly, R Donnelly (1-00), R Duffin; C Bogue (0-01), O Robinson (0-01), L Donnelly (0-05, 5f).

Subs: O Mulgrew for Daly, M McGleenan for Duffin, D Fullerton (0-01) for Daly, D Curran for Rafferty, S O’Donnell for Bogue

Donegal: D Roberts; C McColgan, J Grant, J Gallagher; K Tobin, D McBride, R O’Rourke; R O’Donnell (0-01), R McFadden (0-02); E Dowling (1-01), S O’Donnell (0-01), R McShane; C O’Reilly, P McGettigan (0-02, 1f), J McGroddy (0-04, 3f).

Subs: C Moore for O’Reilly, P O’Hare for Tobin, R Frain for O’Donnell, N Byrne (0-01) for Dowling, A Doherty for McGettigan

Referee: J Lewis (Fermanagh).


Elsewhere, in the Eirgrid Ulster U20 Football Championship, Monaghan beat Derry 2-09 to 0-11 at Celtic Park.

Jason Irwin made the difference with two goals as Monaghan secured a four-point win to advance to the semi-finals where they will face Donegal.

He scored their first goal after 12 minutes to give them a 1-01 to 0-02 lead before adding another just before the break to leave his side in front by two points.

Darragh McGilligan's point for Derry shortly after half-time levelled the scores but Monaghan converted a succession of scores to ease in front on route to victory.