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Impressive Donegal retain Buncrana Cup

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DONEGAL 3-06 TYRONE 0-03

BY CHRIS MCNULTY AT THE SCARVEY

DONEGAL retained the Buncrana Cup following an impressive win over Tyrone on Saturday.

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Ethan O’Donnell, Nathan Gavigan and Michael Carroll netted the goals as Sean Paul Barrett’s boys claimed the fine scalp of the Red Hands.

It was a repeat of last year’s final in which Donegal stumbled over the line, but here they gave a pretty dominant performance from top to bottom. Breaking from defence, Donegal offered live threats all over to Tyrone with Gavigan, Carroll, O’Donnell, Ciaran Maloney and Stephen McMenamin catching the eye in this sector.

Donegal’s rearguard limited Tyrone to just one point from play, with Sean McHugh playing deep with 13 on his back to great effect.

The opening goal arrived in the 14th minyte when O’Donnell ghosted in to fire to the net at the back post. Gavigan’s spadework around the middle opened up the possibilities. His ball down the line set Barrett on his way – and he popped across goal for O’Donnell to steer home.

Frustrated Tyrone weren’t getting the openings they sought, although a Cormac O’Hagan free from the last kick of the half (which whistled dangeroulsy over the black spot) flashed a little note of caution to the Tir Chonaill side.

Tyrone missed a glorious chance of a goal two minutes into the second half. A long ball into the mixer was broken down and O’Hagan latched onto the loose one, before racing in only to see his shot blast back off the post having had Gary McFadden beaten.

Donegal bagged goal number two when ‘45 dropped shot, but Gavigan superbly took possession and brilliantly drilled past Conor Treanor.

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Sub Caolan Mulgrew was denied by a strong Gavin McFadden save seconds after his introduction and any seeds of doubt that lingered were shot away when Donegal netted for the third time. After Barrett was upended by Eoghan Murray, Carroll stepped up to fire the penalty to the back of the net. Doherty and Barrett added points to put a gloss on the scoreline, sealing a memorable and thoroughly deserved win.

DONEGAL: Gavin McFadden; Philip McNern, Gary McFadden, Oran McGinley; Sean McMonagle, Stephen McMenamin, Matthew Ward; Nathan Gavigan (1-0), Michael Carroll (1-0 pen); Dáire Ó Baoill (0-1), Ethan O’Donnell (1-1, 1f), Ciaran Maloney; Sean McHugh, Kane Barrett (0-3, 1f), Conor Doherty (0-1). Subs: Jack Blake for O Baoill (46 mins), Rory Carr for Maloney (46 mins), Naoise Campbell for McMenamin (48 mins), Daniel Brennan for O’Donnell (50 mins), Michael Langan for Barrett (50 mins).

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