By Jack Flynn
Donegal 4-6, Tyrone 1-10 Sometimes the team with the most scores is not rewarded for being so prolific. Such was the case for Tyrone in its Div. 1 senior football match with Donegal at Gaelic Park on Sunday.
Tyrone had 11 scores to Donegal’s 10, but goals from Stephen Cassidy, Edmund Clery and two from Kieran Keveaney gave Donegal the 4-6 to 1-10 victory.
“It’s great to get goals any day, but it really saved us today,” Cleary said. “Tyrone got more scores than us, but we’re happy with the victory.”
The match kicked off in wild fashion, as three of the first four scores went under, not over the crossbar.
Tyrone’s Damien Gormley, who simply ran roughshod over Donegal, followed up the match’s first point with a ball that deflected off a defender and into the net. It was the beginning of a magnificent 60 minutes for Gormley, who scored all but two of his team’s points and left the Donegal players shaking their heads.
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Despite the early deficit, Donegal quickly sprang back to life. Cassidy’s goal also deflected off a defender before getting past Tyrone keeper Noel Bonnar.
Bonnar was beaten again soon after, on a brilliant smash off the foot of Cleary. Cassidy set up his teammate with a stellar feed and Cleary’s blast landed high and to the right of a helpless Bonnar.
Although Cleary played a fine match in scoring five times, he missed several easy points and was somewhat inconsistent.
The game settled down a bit after the three straight goals. Donegal followed up two more Gormley points with a fine Hennessy goal to make the score 3-1 to 1-3.
Tyrone closed the half with four straight points, the last of which came from Gormley’s brother Jody just before the half ended, to make the score 3-2 to 1-7 in favor of Donegal.
Tyrone might have had the lead if not for a tremendous save by Donegal keeper Eunan Doherty on a Gormley penalty kick.
As it was, Tyrone were only down a point. After Cleary put one over the bar for Donegal, Gormley added two straight points to tie the match at 3-3 to 1-9.
But before Tyrone could claim the killing blow, Donegal roared back to life. Points by Cleary and Lar Molloy were followed up by Keveaney’s gorgeous second goal off a long run through the Tyrone defense, cementing the win for Donegal.
Emmett Woods was sent off late in the match for a hard foul on Donegal’s Dave McSweeney, which left the midfielder temporarily in a daze and Woods the object of derision among the Donegal players.
McSweeney had a bit of revenge later on following yet another Gormley point with one of his own to round out the scoring.
After the match, Cleary was happy about his team’s victory but was cognizant of the fact that they should have done a better job in maintaining consistency.
“I felt we played OK in spurts,” he said, “but we let Tyrone have the ball too much, especially in the middle of the field.”
Donegal may not have been perfect, but they were opportunistic enough to pick up two points with a victory.
Donegal scorers: Keveaney 2-0, Cleary 1-4, Cassidy 1-0, Molloy and McSweeney 0-1.
Tyrone: D. Gormley 1-8, Devlin and Gormley 0-1 each.