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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Declan Bogue

Tyrone grab first league points in 2023 with a facile victory over rivals Donegal

Peter Harte of Tyrone is tackled by Peadar Mogan of Donegal. Photo: Sportsfile

Tyrone’s league campaign is up and running as they controlled matters from start to finish at home to old derby rivals Donegal.

They go into the league break feeling somewhat better about themselves after producing a performance that was short on sparkle at times, but they must be thankful to Darren McCurry with his ability to generate and convert frees.

After last week when Tyrone toiled into the wind for the first half of their defeat to Roscommon, it was interesting to see captain Pádraig Hampsey elect to play into the wind for the first half.

The Red Hands displayed a lot more urgency to go into the break three points to the good. They grabbed the first three through Darragh Canavan, Brian Kennedy and a Darren McCurry free, before the benefit of the wind was shown by long range points potted by Jamie Brennan and Jeaic McKelvey.

A Shaun Patton kickout sailed over the top of the Tyrone press to fall to Caolan McGonagle and after a delivery to Patrick McBrearty was converted into a point by Conor O’Donnell.

Further Tyrone points came from McCurry’s second free and the next two chances had the hint of goal chances, Frank Burns and Cormac Munroe arrowing over.

The biggest goal chance of the half however landed somewhat unexpectedly to McKelvey when O’Donnell’s fisted attempt hit the crossbar. McKelvey didn’t get a clean connection on his shot and Kennedy was on the line to clear the danger for Tyrone, who went on 0-6 to 0-3 up at the break.

Donegal’s lack of scoring ability was shown up when they had to run into the wind and you sensed that Tyrone enjoyed breaking down their multiple sallies forward by setting defensive traps and profiting off the turnovers.

From the dead ball, McCurry feasted on frees and marks, Canavan added a brace of points, and Donegal looked toothless and young, especially when captain Patrick McBrearty was withdrawn.

Monaghan away the next day out will be a big test for Paddy Carr’s young charges.

Scorers – Tyrone: D McCurry 0-7 (6f, 1m); D Canavan 0-3; C McShane, C Munroe, P Hampsey, C Quinn, B Kennedy, F Burns 0-1 each. Donegal: J Brennan (1m) and C O’Donnell 0-2 each; J McKelvey, H McFadden, P McBrearty (1m), J Bradley Walsh (1f) 0-1 each.

TYRONE: N Morgan; M McKernan, C Munroe, P Hampsey; C Quinn, P Harte, N Devlin; C Kilpatrick, B Kennedy; F Burns, K McGeary, C Meyler; C McShane, D McCurry, D Canavan. Subs: N Sludden for Canavan (53m), M Donnelly for Quinn (64m), R Donnelly for Sludden (68m), E McNabb for McCurry (72m), N McCarron for McGeary (72m)

DONEGAL: S Patton; M Curran, B McCole, C Ward; C McColgan, S McMenamin, J McKelvey; C McGonagle, J McGee; J McGroddy, D ÓBaoill, C O’Donnell; H McFadden, P McBrearty, J Brennan. Subs: P Mogan for McMcKelvey (HT), J Grant for McGrotty (51m), J Bradley Walsh, for McBrearty (58m), B O’Donnell for McColgan (67m)

Ref: D Gough (Meath)

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