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Tyrone's fighting spirit earns much-deserved replay

Tyrone 4-13 Donegal 4-13

By Francis Mooney

Donegal manager Ray Durack has warned his players that they must learn to perform for 70 minutes if they are to avoid relegation to Division 3A of the National Hurling League.

Tyrone came from eight points behind to earn a draw in a thrilling Division 2B/3A relegation/promotion play-off at Owenbeg.

"You have to hurl for 70 minutes. You can't lie down. Tyrone proved that and they came back and they were unlucky not to win the game," said Durack.

Tyrone boss Mattie Lennon hailed the character of his side, who went level with a late Damien Casey free to earn a replay.

"We struggled to get into the game, but came back well," said Lennon.

"Character is something that comes from within, and these guys have it. They really did dig deep in the second half."

Ronan McDermott stunned the Red Hands with a first-half hat-trick as Donegal went in at the break leading by 3-4 to 0-6.

Skipper Casey sparked the fightback with a 44th minute goal, and added a second 10 minutes later. Sean Og Grogan's goal sent Tyrone down the straight leading by a point, but Lee Henderson tied up at 3-10 each with a stoppage-time free.

Conor Grogan hit Tyrone's fourth goal in the first spell of extra-time, and they led by 4-12 to 3-12 at the break. But McDermott's fourth edged Donegal back in front, and the Red Hands needed a late Casey free to level.

Tyrone: J Devlin, C McNally, M O'Gorman, C Casey, P McHugh (0-1), D Begley, T Morgan, J Kelly (0-1), A Kelly, M Winters, D Casey (2-8, 0-6f, 0-1 '65), C Cross, C Grogan (1-1), S Og Grogan (1-1), G Gilmore (0-1). Subs: M Grogan for C Casey, C Gallagher for Cross, R Devlin for Gilmore for R Devlin, Cross for Winters, R Devlin for J Kelly

Donegal: D Laverty, P Doherty, J Donnelly, M Callaghan, C McDermott, J Boyle, N Cleary, D Cullen, C Mathewson, J O'Loughlin (0-1), E McDermott (0-2), K Campbell, L Henderson (0-8, 3f, 1 '65), R McDermott (4-0), B Lafferty (0-2). Subs: C Kilgannon for Lafferty, Lafferty for Mathewson.

Referee: J Clarke (Cavan).

Belfast Telegraph

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