Ulster SFC preliminary round: Donegal 1-13 1-10 Tyrone

Donegal captain Michael Murphy comes under pressure from Justin McMahon
Donegal captain Michael Murphy comes under pressure from Justin McMahon

Donegal edged out Tyrone in a titanic Ulster SFC preliminary round tussle with a three-point win in Ballybofey.

Darren McCurry's goal helped put the visitors in front but Donegal rallied with a Martin McElhinney goal to lead 1-8 to 1-6 at half-time.

The sides were level after 51 minutes but Tyrone failed to score for the rest of the game.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men late on with Neil Gallagher and Sean Cavanagh sent off for second offences.

The home side lived up to billing early on, scoring four unanswered points in the opening nine minutes.

Frank McGlynn, Paddy McBrearty, Christy Toye and McElhinney all scored from play in a dominant start from Donegal.

Ulster SFC: Gallagher happy as Harte questions Donegal goal

Tyrone responded brilliantly with McCurry's well-taken goal in the 10th minute.

Peter Harte broke through a couple of tackles and found McCurry rushing in unmarked on the far side. He bent the ball superbly around Paul Durcan with his left foot to reduce the deficit to 0-4 to 1-0.

Colm McFadden, a late inclusion in the Donegal starting line-up, scored from close range and McElhinney nailed his second of the day to steady Donegal after Tyrone's goal.

However, Tyrone took complete control and outscored the hosts by six points to one between the 20th and 33rd minute.

Justin McMahon, Mattie Donnelly and Ronan McNamee scored from play with Sean Cavanagh landing 0-3 (two from frees) to put Tyrone ahead 1-6 to 0-7.

The momentum shifted again with Donegal's late 1-1 before the break.

McGlynn passed to Odhran MacNiallais and though his shot was smothered by goalkeeper Mickey O'Neill, the ball squirted loose and McElhinney pulled on the loose ball which flew into the net.

Darren McCurry celebrates his fine goal, which was Tyrone's first score of the game
Darren McCurry celebrates his fine goal, which was Tyrone's first score of the game

McFadden tagged on an injury-time point to establish a two-point half-time lead.

The teams were evenly matched in the third quarter and Conor McAlliskey hit three points from play to draw Tyrone level at 1-10 apiece.

Facing into a strong breeze Michael Murphy, who had been well contained by Justin McMahon, made an impact late in the game with two long-range frees before converting a difficult '45' from near the sideline to push Donegal three points clear.

Tyrone had a couple of goal chances late on, Colm Cavanagh's flick coming off the crossbar, and both teams were reduced to 14 men in the final 10 minutes.

Neil Gallagher was sent off for a second yellow card on 63 minutes and Sean Cavanagh went three minutes from time for a high tackle on Paddy McGrath.

He picked up a black card and having been booked earlier in the game, he received a red card from referee Joe McQuillan.

Donegal will play Armagh in the first round in four weeks time with Tyrone heading into the All-Ireland qualifiers at the end of June.

Scorers for Donegal - M McElhinney 1-2, M Murphy 0-3 (3f), C McFadden, P McBrearty, C Toye 0-2 each, K Lacey, F McGlynn 0-1 each

Scorers for Tyrone - S Cavanagh 0-4 (3f), D McCurry 1-0, C McAlliskey 0-3, R McNamee, J McMahon, M Donnelly 0-1 each

Donegal: P Durcan; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; R McHugh, K Lacey, F McGlynn; N Gallagher, M McElhinney; M O'Reilly, O MacNiallais, C Toye; P McBrearty, M Murphy, C McFadden

Subs: M McHugh for O'Reilly (39), A Thompson for Toye (66), D Walsh for McElhinney (70), D McLaughlin for McFadden (70)

Tyrone: M O'Neill; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, Justin McMahon, P Harte; C Cavanagh, C McShane; R Brennan, M Donnelly, B Tierney; D McCurry, S Cavanagh, C McAliskey

Subs: P McNulty for McShane (41), T McCann for Tierney (55), M Bradley for McCurry (63), R O'Neill for McAlliskey (66)

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)