Category: Archive

O’Rourke paces Tyrone past champs Donegal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Peter T. Nolan

Tyrone 0-17

Donegal 0-15

Tyrone opened the 2002 Senior A football season in fine style, knocking off defending champions Donegal Sunday at Gaelic Park. The afternoon’s second Ulster derby was a high-scoring affair, with little between the sides all day.

Tyrone opened the scoring through Martin O’Rourke’s first point. The classy Armagh import ended with 0-4 for the match and his pace and skill were problematic for the defending champions throughout.

Kevin Lilly tapped over a free to open Donegal’s account. The Donegal lineout was peppered with seven New York panelists, while Tyrone were represented only by Noel McPartland. Tyrone closed any gap that might have existed by adding Jody Gormley and O’Rourke to their home-based side.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

Gormley swung the balance of midfield play Tyrone’s way as he and Owen McElroy got the better of the battle with Martin Higgins and Martin Coll, although Coll had a personal scoreline of 0-4.

Donegal edged ahead 0-7 to 0-4 with Lilly and Breslin leading Donegal’s scoring as Donegal seemed to be tightening their grip on this match. But Tyrone have never been a side to roll over and points from Justin Murray and O’Rourke countered a fine Kieran Keavney effort to keep Tyrone in touch at the half, trailing by 0-9 to 0-7.

Tyrone opened the second half in dynamic form, tallying 5 points to a lone Lilly point, to run out to a 3-point lead. Then, just as Tyrone had refused to wilt under Donegal’s first-half pressure, Donegal showed their champion’s resolve by fighting their way back. Donal Breslin stopped the bleeding with a point to pull Donegal to within two.

With the action picking up, the crowd, which had filled out well as the day progressed, was letting itself be heard. The ever-dangerous McPartland sandwiched two points around a Lilly free and Tyrone led 0-15 to 0-13 heading into the final quarter. Donegal pecked away at the deficit with Kieran Keavney and Coll twice, firing over the lathe. Coll’s second effort, after some fine work from centerback McCredy, leveled the match.

Again, Tyrone responded. Patten and Murray, from a free, pointed and the Tyrone midfield and defense combined to shut the door on the Donegal attack.

It was a great start to Tyrone’s season, the only sour note being the three sets of jerseys worn by the Tyrone team. Confusion for fans and press alike was unavoidable with as many as three No. 19s and 21s running around the pitch. Hopefully, this situation will not be repeated.

Man of the match: Martin O’Rourke.

Tyrone: Anthony McCann, Fergal Daly (0-1), Martin McMahon, Owen McCann, Kieran Doyle. Collie Fearon, Phil Sloane, Owen Mclroy, Jody Gormley, Barry Loughley (0-1), Martin O’Rourke (0-4), Damien Patten (0-3), Bob Murphy, Justin Murray (0-4) Noel McPartland (0-4).

Donegal: Eunan Doherty, Owen Cummins, Darren Rocks, Brian McDermott, Rory Sweeney, Niall McCready, Pauric Rooney, Martin Coll (0-4), Paul Higgins, Gareth Kelly, Kieran Keavney (0-2), Anton Diver, Edmund Cleary (0-1), Kevin Lilly (0-5), Donal Breslin (0-3), Sub Leslie McGettigan.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese