DONEGAL 2-10 TYRONE 1-06
BY CHRIS MCNULTY IN MAGHERA
DONEGAL turned on the style in the second half to defeat Tyrone and win the Jim McGuigan Ulster U17 tournament in Maghera on Saturday.
Declan Bonner’s side outscored the Red Hands 2-7 to 1-1 in a blistering second period to win what is the second running of this competition at the impressive Watty Grahams club.
Donegal had trailed 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time, but within eight minutes of the re-start they had taken control of the contest.
The Tir Chonaill side, winners of the Under 16 Buncrana Cup last year, got a lot of their match winners off the bench, with 2-5 of their tally scored by subs. Lorcan Connor and John Campbell fired over points to level it – and Donegal didn’t look back.
They led for the first time since the sixth minute when Michael Miller superbly found the range and they struck gold when a brilliantly-worked team move ended with Ciaran Diver crashing past Colm O’Hagan from close range.
Cian Mulligan, whose blistering pace and those surging runs from deep were a constant scourge to Tyrone, sychthed through to put five between them and Campbell slotted over a free to make it a six-point game.
Tyrone briefly responded through Ciaran Hughes, but with Campbell magnificently firing over and Gavin McBride rising the cheers with a tasty long-distance free Donegal were home and hosed, even when Aidan McSorely drove to the net after the Donegal defence had blocked Hughes’ free.
Just for good measure, Donegal added the insurance score late in the day when Ryan Gillespie fired to the net in the final minute to seal a seven-point win.
Donegal had whitewashed Monaghan in their opening game while Tyrone had a tougher battle to see off Antrim in their semi-final. Bonner stuck with the same 15 that had comprehensively beaten Monaghan and they opened the scoring when Connor clipped over a free in the sixth minute after a lung-bursting run by Mulligan saw him draw a foul.
Tyrone hit back with Aidan McSorely and Gavin Slane on the mark. Donegal by now weren’t retaining a fluent hold of possession and Slane hit two and Hughes another to push them into a 0-5 to 0-2 advantage. Connor might well have bagged a goal, but snatched at a chance, although a Campbell score at the close of the opening 25-minute installment brought Donegal a little closer – and they took charge of the second period.
Mulligan, Campbell, McBride, Connor Colm Kelly and captain Niall Harley were among Donegal’s chief performers with Na Rossa’s impressive defender John McDyre edging the nod for the Man of the Match in the final for an excellent and flawless display.
“It was a real team performance,” said manager Bonner.
“The lads done well. This is their second year undefeated and they’ve worked really hard over the last six months. We have them in every Saturday and it’s paying off. Hopefully they can move on now to minor level and they’re heading in the right direction.”
Bonner will manage the Donegal minors in 2014 – and is aiming to make it a three-in-a-row with this group.
“We felt it important to take the Under 17s and keep them at a high level.
“We have a fair bit of work to do once we get a squad in place. The lads will spend a lot of time in the gym. The players have a very good attitude and they’re always willing to listen and learn.
“This should stand to the, next year. Donegal has under achieved at minor level over the years and we have to set the bar high and try to win an Ulster Minor Championship.”
DONEGAL: Paddy Byrne (Naomh Columba); Danny Monagle (Carndonagh), Connall O’Boyle (St Eunan’s), Colm Kelly (Aodh Ruadh); Cian Mulligan (Gaoth Dobhair, 0-1), John McDyre (Na Rossa), David Tyrell (St Eunan’s); Ciaran Gallagher (Gaoth Dobhair), Niall Harley (Aodh Ruadh); Christian Bonner, (Na Rossa) Jamie Brennan (Bundoran), Michael Miller (St Eunan’s, 0-1); Lorcan Connor (Downings, 0-3, 2f), Niall Friel (Gaoth Dobhair), Owen ‘Ban’ Gallagher (Killybegs).
Subs: Caolan McGonagle (Buncrana) for Tyrell (17 mins), John Campbell (Buncrana, 0-4, 1f) for O’Boyle (19 mins), Ciaran Diver (Moville, 1-0) for Bonner (24 mins), Gavin McBride (Gaoth Dobhair, 0-1, 1f) for Miller (30 mins), Ryan Gillespie (Naomh Columba, 1-0) for Brennan (38 mins), Oran Molloy (Na Rossa) for Connor (44 min).
TYRONE: Colm O’Hagan; Eden Mullen, Tiernan McNamee, Daniel Mullen; Adam O’Neill, Seamus Warnock, Niall Kelly; Ben McDonnell, Hayden McNamee; Aidan McSorely, Ciaran Hughes, Conal Monaghan; Ryan Bradley, Jonah Lafferty, Gavin Slane.
Donegal steamroll Monaghan
Donegal 3-20 Monaghan 0-01
DONEGAL could hardly have had a more seamless passage to the final as they walked over Monaghan in their semi-final.
Jamie Brennan fired home their opening goal in the ninth minute after good work by Ciaran Gillespie in the middle of the park.
Donegal led 1-9 to 0-0 at the break and just 19 seconds into the second period John Campbell slotted home the second goal. Donegal continued to pile on the misery and David Sweeney bagged the third goal late in the day. Campbell finished with 1-3, while McBride contributed three points and Connor landed three frees.
DONEGAL: Paddy Byrne; Danny Monagle, Connall O’Boyle, Colm Kelly (0-1); Cian Mulligan, John McDyre, David Tyrell (0-1, 1 ‘45); Ciaran Gillespie, Niall Harley (0-1); Christian Bonner, Jamie Brennan (1-0), Michael Miller (0-2); Lorcan Connor (0-3, 3f), Niall Friel (0-1), Owen ‘Ban’ Gallagher. Subs used: Gavin McBride (0-4, 1 ‘45), John Campbell (1-3, 1f), Caolan McGonagle, Darren Gallagher (Burt), Ciaran Diver (0-1), Ryan Gillespie (0-2), Daire Quinn (Four Masters), Cormac Callaghan (Glenswilly), Adam Neely (Dungloe), Oran Molloy, David Sweeney (Dungloe, 1-1).
Ciara Hegarty – a current All-Star – believes that Donegal are capable of building up a head of steam...