Niall Morgan’s accuracy gives Tyrone the edge over Donegal

Goalkeeper lands some crucial scores in final quarter

Donegal 1-7 Tyrone 0-13

Mickey Harte won the big battle in the Dr McKenna Cup as Tyrone had three points to spare over Jim McGuinness's Donegal in Letterkenny.

The underfoot conditions were far from ideal, but for three-quarters of this game it was a good contest. However the young Tyrone team proved too strong in the final quarter for a more experienced Donegal line-up.

Tyrone were at their best in that final quarter with goalkeeper Niall Morgan proving a matchwinner with three points from placed balls. Ironically, that was better than the entire return for Donegal in the second period – two points.

Black card
The final quarter also saw the only black card of the contest, Rory Kavanagh banished after a late challenge on Tiernan McCann.

The January cobwebs were evident in the first quarter as both sides turned over ball. Tyrone fared the better, though, with two points from Ronan O'Neill. Donegal gradually got back in the contest with points from Colm McFadden and Michael Murphy.


Murphy was involved in the two best incidents of the opening half, being denied in spectacular fashion by Niall Morgan from the penalty spot on 20 minutes, but three minutes from the break, the Donegal captain availed of hesitancy by Aidan McCrory to fire home a cracker of a goal to the corner of the net.

Morgan was at fault in the lead up to the penalty, dropping a centre from Gary McFadden and then fouling Darach O’Connor as the Donegal debutant got to the ball first. O’Connor is a son of the famous John ‘Jigger’ O’Connor of Roscommon fame in the 1970s and 80s.

Tyrone kept in touch with Tiernan McCann and Patrick McNiece points but further Donegal points including one from full-back Eamon McGee saw them lead at the break, 1-5 to 0-5. Tyrone were level by the 42nd minute with Patrick McNiece (2) and Ronan O'Neill finding the target. Michael Murphy and McNiece also traded points to leave the sides still level in the 54th minute, but from there Tyrone took over with Morgan really impressive.
DONEGAL: P Durcan; F McGlynn, E McGee (0-1), E Doherty; D Walsh, L McLoone, A Thompson; R Kavanagh, O McNiallais; G McFadden, D Molloy, M O'Reilly; D O'Connor, M Murphy (1-4,1f), C McFadden (0-2,1f). Subs:T McKinley for O'Reilly 56; A McFadden for Kavanagh 57 ( black card)
TYRONE: N Morgan (0-3,3f,45); A McCrory, C Clarke, B Tierney; C McGinley, D McBride, T McCann (0-1); P Kane, C Grugan; N McKenna, S McGuigan (0-1), E McKenna; P McNiece (0-4,2f), M Donnelly, R O'Neill (0-3,1f). Subs: P Hughes (0-1) for Kane; K Gallagher for E McKenna, both ht; R McNamee for McBride 50.

Referee: B Cassidy Derry