By Mike Fitzpatrick
Donegal 1-20, Tyrone 0-11
In this battle of the Ulster giants, it was Donegal, the side many Gaelic Park supporters feel will go the whole way this season, which clinched victory in this senior football championship semi final.
It was a relatively easy 12-point victory for Connie Molloy’s men.
Tyrone had inter county footballers Stephen and Chris Lawn over for the game, but due to some official red tape from Croke Park, the brothers were unable to take part in the action.
Donegal stormed into an early lead thanks to efforts from Kieran O’Hare, Gary Dowd, Donal Breslin and John Paul Boyle. Tyrone’s replies were few and far between, with Gary McConnell and Liam Briody hitting back. But it was a Liam Gallagher goal that killed off the Tyrone men’s chances in the first half.
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Gallagher had come on as a substitute following Donal Breslin’s exit via stretcher due to a back injury. Such was Donegal’s strength though, that even missing a player of Breslin’s calibre, they still managed to surge further ahead.
Barry Tally in the Tyrone goal prevented Donegal’s Coll from shooting his side further ahead with a fine goal-bound save, but it appeared too little too late as at the half time break, Molloy’s men led Duke Devlin’s side by a score of 11 points to four.
Despite Tyrone upping their attacking play in the second period, it was Donegal which proved to be more accurate with more and more pushes forward reaping dividends. Edmund Cleary, Coll, Niall McCready, Boyle and Gallagher all hit points to give Donegal a 12-point victory. They will now meet the winners of the Kerry/Rockland game in the final.
Donegal: Eunan Doherty, Mark McClafferty, Owen Cummins, Paddy McConigley, Adrian McClafferty, Anthony Lynch, Gerry Kelly, Mick Moran, Gary Dowd (0-1), Donal Breslin (0-1), Martin Coll (0-3), Niall McCready (0-2), Kieran O’Hare (0-3), John P. Boyle (0-7), Kieran Keaveney (0-1). Sub: Liam Gallagher (1-0), Edmund Cleary (0-2).
Tyrone: Barry Tally, Enda Donnelly, Barry Hynes, Brian Quinn, Collie Fearon, Fintan Devlin, John Cormican, Danny Barr (0-1), Paul McGuirk (0-1), Gerard Flanagan (0-1), Gary McConnell (0-2), Philip Sloane , Liam Briody (0-2), Dermot Lane, Darren Flanagan. Subs: Justin Murray (0-4).