Michael Murphy inspires Donegal to victory over 14-man Tyrone

Impressive Tyrone debutant Paul Donaghy scores 10 points in derby defeat

Donegal’s Michael Murphy in action against Tyrone. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Donegal’s Michael Murphy in action against Tyrone. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Tyrone 0-16 Donegal 0-18

Michael Murphy inspired Donegal to victory over 14-man Tyrone at Healy Park, making it a day of what-ifs for new managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher.

Defender Michael O’Neill’s second yellow card five minutes into the second half left the home side with an uphill battle, and despite a 10 point haul from brilliant debutant Paul Donaghy, they slumped to a derby defeat.

“Any day that you go into Healy Park and get two points is a good day,” said Donegal boss Declan Bonner.

“I’m delighted with that. There’s plenty to work on of course after our first competitive game of the season but I thought there was plenty to like about it.

“I’m sure Brian and Feargal will also be happy because I thought that first half was a real good game of football. It was 10 points apiece, and in the second half, it was just a wee bit more difficult to get scores down there.

“There was a breeze and that made it difficult, but we were patient and we kicked those three in the first 14 or 15 minutes and that was the platform that we moved on from. We were always those couple of points ahead then.”

Both sides took a refreshingly positive approach to their NFL Division One North opener, and the scores flowed in an entertaining first half.

They were level on seven occasions prior to the interval, with Murphy and Donaghy trading scores from frees and play. Paddy McBrearty got in for a goal chance, but settled for a point, before Donaghy put the hosts a point to the good at the water break.

But with Hugh McFadden and Michal Langan influential in the middle third, the visitors opened up a three point lead through Niall O’Donnell. Two more Donaghy frees brought the sides level.

A brilliant McBrearty score in stoppage time was cancelled out by an equally spectacular Donaghy effort to make it a draw game at the interval.

O’Neill’s departure provided goalkeeper Shaun Patton with the opportunity to pick out the extra man with pinpoint kick-outs, and Donegal capitalised on that vital platform.

Tyrone, with wind advantage, scored just once in the third quarter, while McBrearty and Murphy pushed Bonner’s men three clear. Donaghy kept Tyrone in it while his colleagues struggled with their finishing, but they could not get any closer than two points adrift.

The ageless Murphy was still going strong after almost 80 minutes, charging through for an inspirational late score that effectively sealed the derby win.

TYRONE: N Morgan (0-1, ‘45); R Brennan, R McNamee, P Hampsey; M Cassidy, P Harte, M O’Neill (0-1); F Burns, B Kennedy; P Donaghy (0-10, 5 frees, 1 ‘45), M Donnelly, C Meyler (0-1); K McGeary (0-1); C McKenna (0-1), R Donnelly.

Subs: M McKernan for McNamee (10 mins), C Munroe for Kennedy (half-time), M Bradley (0-1) for R Donnelly (42), N Sludden for Cassidy (58), D Canavan for McGeary (68).

DONEGAL: S Patton; C Ward, N McGee, B McCole; R McHugh, P Brennan, P Mogan (0-1); H McFadden, C McGonagle (0-1); N O’Donnell (0-1), C Thompson (0-2), M Langan (0-1); P McBrearty (0-4, 2 frees), M Murphy (0-6, 3 frees), J Brennan (0-2).

Subs: D O Baoill for McFadden (h-t), E McHugh for Ward (44), O Gallen for J Brennan (63), A McClean for P Brennan (64), E O’Donnell for Langan (68), E Doherty for O’Donnell (74).

Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan)

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