Tyrone bounce back to punish wasteful Donegal
Tyrone 1-15 Donegal 2-08
There was a nasty melee at the end of an Ulster Under-21 semi-final that was definitely a game of two halves in Celtic Park as Tyrone reached the decider.
Donegal dominated the opening half but Tyrone were back on terms early in the second before Donegal lost two players in quick succession - Stephen McMenamin and Bruce Waldron between the 44th and 50th minutes.
The Red Hands then took control to fire six unanswered points and but for a late penalty from Stephen McBrearty, the winning margin would have been greater.
It could have been different though as Donegal should have been much further in front at half-time than 0-6 to 0-4.
But it was their inaccuracy in front of goal that ultimately cost them. Indeed, Donegal should have had three points on the board before Tyrone opened the scoring on four minutes through Mark Sweeney.
Lee Brennan added a second Tyrone point from a free a minute later but they didn't score again until the 26th minute.
Donegal eventually found their range and were ahead by the 11th minute through McBrearty, Christian Bonner and a Ciaran Thompson free.
Andrew McClean was almost in for a goal before Tyrone lost midfielder Ben McDonnell to a black card on 16 minutes.
McBrearty and Conor O'Donnell pushed Donegal three ahead before Sean Fox got Tyrone's third score. Just before half-time, McBrearty and Cathal McShane converted frees for their respective sides.
At the start of the second-half Tyrone closed the gap before the sides exchanged goals. Ryan Coleman reacted after a ball came back off a post to fire in, but then Conor Doherty found the Tyrone net. But when Donegal were reduced to 13, they were made to rue their misses.
Tyrone: S Fox; C McCann, P Teague, S Hamill; C Byrne, S Loughran (0-1), M O'Neill; C McShane (0-2,1f), B McDonnell; M Kavanagh (0-2), F Burns (0-1) D Mulgrew; L Brennan (0-5,3f), R Coleman (1-2), S Fox (0-1). Subs., M McKernan for Teague 14; J Harkin for McDonnell, bcard 20; R McGlone for O'Neill 53; S O'Donnell (0-1) for Kavanagh 58; R McGeary for Fox, bcard 59
Donegal: D Rodgers; C Morrison, K Gillespie, J O'Brien; E Ban Gallagher, C O'Donnell (0-1), E McGrath; C McGonagle, S McMenamin; C Bonner (0-1), C Thompson (0-1,f), A McClean; S McBrearty (1-5,1-0 pen,3f), M Carroll, J Brennan. Subs., C Doherty (1-0) for Brennan 32; M Coyle for Bonner 37; B Waldron for McGonigle, bcard 43; C Mulligan for McClean 45; A Neely for O'Donnell 53; J Scally for O'Brien 57
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)