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Holders Donegal show resilience to net minor win over Tyrone

Donegal 1-11 Tyrone 0-8

By Kevin Kelly

Holders Donegal are through to the quarter-final of the Ulster minor championship after a strong second half display saw them overcome a dogged Tyrone side at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey yesterday afternoon.

Tyrone went into the game as underdogs but they held a two point lead after 25 minutes after recovering from a slow start. After that though it was all Donegal as the hosts drew level by the break before holding their opponents scoreless throughout the second half.

The home side were full value for their win on the day and after recently retaining their Ulster minor league title it will take a good side to deny them back to back championship crowns as well.

Donegal made a change to their starting side with Conor O'Doherty replacing Mark Coyle and he made an immediate impact. He opened the scoring inside 60 seconds and in the third minute he struck for a goal after good approach play from Naoise O'Baoill.

Wing half back Johnny Harkin opened Tyrone's account in the fifth minute with a well taken point and after Ethan O'Donnell and Ryan Coleman had exchanged scores midfielder James Darcy narrowed the gap for Tyrone.

A surging run from O'Donnell saw him leave three between the sides again.

Fintan McClure took a good score from out on the right wing and then the superb Conan McLernon took centre stage with four fine efforts from play.

Tyrone were going well at this stage but it was Donegal who closed out the half on top with points from a Rory Carr "45" as well as a Kane Barrett free leaving it 1-5 to 0-8 at the interval.

The game looked delicately poised at this stage but Donegal stepped on the gas in the second half and they confidently took the game to Tyrone. A patient move saw right half back Daire O'Baoill split the posts for an advantage that they were never to lose. Kane Barrett then knocked over a free as Donegal began to take a grip.

Tyrone were finding it difficult to break down the Donegal defence while at the other end of the field they were beginning to turn possession into scores. Carr knocked over another "45" and when Tyrone lost the ball coming out of defence Neil O'Donnell made them pay with a point.

Four points now divided the two sides and at this stage there was only going to be one winner. Neil O'Donnell got another point to leave six between the sides.

Tyrone finished the game with 14 men when substitute Michael McKernan was black carded having used all their replacements. It didn't affect the end result though as Donegal were safely through.

DONEGAL: D Rodgers, G McFadden, S McMenamin, P Doherty, D O'Baoill (0-1), N Gavigan, B McCole, M Carroll, M Langan, C Doherty, N O'Donnell (0-2), R Carr (0-2), C Doherty (1-1), K Barrett (0-3), E O'Donnell (0-2). Subs: B Curran for D O'Baoill, M Coyle for Carr, S McHugh for N O'Baoill, P McNern for E O'Donnell, J McGee for Gavigan

TYRONE: B Gallen, C McGlinchey, C McGuigan, C Shields, E Murray, C Campbell, J Harkin (0-1), J Darcy (0-1), C O'Hagan, M Coreless, D Mulgrew, R Coleman (0-1), C McLernon (0-4), F McClure (0-1), T Carney. Subs: J McGuigan for Carney, R McGuigan for McGlinchey (black card), E McNabb for O'Hagan, C Kilpatrick for Coleman, B Kennedy for Coreless, M McKernan for Harkin (black card)

Referee: P Faloon (Down)

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