Super 8s: Tyrone set up Monaghan semi-final as late show sees off Donegal

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Mickey Harte says Colm Cavanagh produced probably his best Tyrone game in Ballybofey win
Super 8s: Donegal 1-13 Tyrone 2-17
Donegal scorers: M Murphy 1-2, J Brennan 0-3, O MacNiallais 0-2, R McHugh 0-1, C Thompson 0-1, M Langan 0-1, P McGrath 0-1, E Ban Gallagher 0-1, N O'Donnell 0-1
Tyrone scorers: L Brennan 0-4, H Loughran 1-0, D McClure 1-0, C McAliskey 0-2, M Donnelly 0-2, P Hampsey 0-2, T McCann 0-1, M Bradley 0-1, C Cavanagh 0-1, P Harte 0-1, K McGeary 0-1, N Morgan 0-1, R McNamee 0-1

Tyrone set up an All-Ireland Football semi-final against Monaghan next Sunday as their late rally earned a 2-17 to 1-13 win over Donegal at Ballybofey.

Michael Murphy's goal in first-half injury time helped Donegal lead by four after 53 minutes but Harry Loughran netted on 62 to put Tyrone ahead.

As Tyrone's subs made a huge impact, Donegal wilted and Declan McClure's late goal rounded off their win.

Donegal were suffering their first defeat in Ballybofey since 2010.

Murphy's goal, after Ryan McHugh had intercepted an attempted short kickout by Niall Morgan, seemed set to be a pivotal score for much of the contest but Tyrone showed commendable resilience to run the legs off Donegal in the final 27 minutes of action.

Lee Brennan, who hit four points, encapsulated the impact of the Tyrone bench as goalscorers Loughran and McClure were also introduced by Mickey Harte in the second half, with Kieran McGeary another influential force after coming on.

Donegal may look back on a couple of missed long-range frees by captain Michael Murphy in the second half - including one just before Loughran's goal which would have put them two ahead - but Tyrone were already building up a head of steam by that stage.

Donegal have no answer to Tyrone bench

Lee Brennan's four second-half points helped Tyrone take control in Ballybofey
Lee Brennan (left) was among the Tyrone second-half substitutes to make a huge impact in Ballybofey

Donegal led the game from Jamie Brennan's fisted pointed just moments before Murphy's 35th-minute goal until Loughran netted in the 62nd minute but there was no doubting Tyrone's superiority by the finish.

After Paddy McGrath's 53rd-minute point, Tyrone outscored the opposition 2-7 to 0-2 in the remaining 28 minutes of play, as referee Joe McQuillan played 11 minutes of added-time.

Brennan helped spark Tyrone's second-half dominance as he scored two quickfire points after his introduction which cut in half the four-point advantage which Donegal had taken just after half-time.

Donegal had a big escape in the 50th minute as more Brennan brilliance set up a goal chance fluffed by Cathal McShane but the Red Hands maintained their composure as a run of three straight points was followed by Loughran's goal as he palmed to the net after Tiernan McCann's fisted ball across the Donegal square.

In addition to the impact of the subs, Colm Cavanagh was magnificent for Tyrone in his sweeper role with Mattie Donnelly just as influential in the second half as he subdued Ryan McHugh after the Kilcar man's brilliant first-half display for Declan Bonner's side.

Game opens up after cagey beginning

The game fell into a pattern early on as Donegal struggled to breach Tyrone's well-organised defensive cordon with the Red Hands making incisions more easily when they did break into opposition territory.

A superb Mattie Donnelly point from play left Tyrone 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after 18 minutes but McHugh's running helped Donegal control the second quarter as his own score and a fine Ciaran Thompson point got the home side on terms.

Jamie Brennan's foraging for possession at corner-forward was helping Donegal to wrest control at that stage and his two superb points from play put Donegal ahead after Cavanagh's fine score had briefly restored Tyrone's lead.

In a game which looked certain to be a tight affair, Murphy's goal on the stroke of half-time appeared to be a potentially pivotal score as McHugh intercepted Morgan's attempted short kickout to Tiernan McCann before setting up Murphy to lash past the Tyrone keeper.

Harry Loughran nips in ahead of Donegal keeper Shaun Patton to score Tyrone's first goal
Harry Loughran palmed in Tyrone's first goal on 62 minutes

Dam bursts for Donegal with Loughran goal

Tyrone's task in the half-time break - which eventually ran to 21 minutes - seemed to revolve around working on plans to curb McHugh's effectiveness and also involve Peter Harte more in the play.

Donnelly's fulfilled the former task superbly in the second period but while Harte did up his game, it was Brennan and his fellow substitutes who really were to make the difference.

Scores from Michael Langan and Odhran MacNiallais twice put Donegal four ahead in the minutes after the resumption but it was at that point Mickey Harte began to introduce the reinforcements who were to prove so pivotal.

MacNiallais' departure because of injury in the 58th-minute was a huge blow for Donegal and after McGeary's point left the minimum between the teams, the dam truly burst for the home side when Loughran nipped in ahead of Shaun Patton to palm into the net.

Surprise starter Eoghan Ban Gallagher's 65th-minute score was Donegal's final act of resistance as a successful Mattie Donnelly effort was followed by Niall Morgan's long-range free and Brennan's fourth point.

McClure's goal in the final play, as the demoralised Donegal defence was marked absent, gave the scoreboard a somewhat flattering look to the Red Hands but there was no doubting their superiority as they set up a Croke Park meeting with Monaghan next weekend.

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