Tyrone find Donegal hurlers too hot to handle
Nicky Rackard Cup: Tyrone 1-12 Donegal 1-26
THE energy generated by a solid Allianz Hurling League campaign was evident as Donegal made a blistering start to their Nicky Rackard Cup challenge.
They made a real statement at Killyclogher, where they proved too hot for Tyrone to handle, leading all the way as they built upon the steady progress made over the past 12 months.
Declan Coulter, prolific free-taking deputy to the injured Lee Henderson, led the way with a 13 points haul, while Tipperary native Davin Flynn, having stunned the home side with an early goal, finished with 1-5.
Jamesie Donnelly provided the delivery from deep for Flynn’s close range finish as early as the third minute, but the home side responded with four points on the spin to edge ahead.
Damien Casey converted a ’65 and a long range free, but Donegal came again and former Tyrone player Gerry Gilmore knocked over a couple of scores.
And with Danny Cullen performing with his usual steely determination, Tyrone were finding it difficult to open up the Donegal defence.
Coulter hit the target with two difficult frees, and added a point from play, but the Red Hands were still very much in front at the break, with Casey scoring twice from open play late in the half.
Donegal led by 1-10 to 0-7 at the interval, and with the wind in their back in the second half, they soon had the score-board ticking regularly.
A succession of points saw them out-score their hosts by 0-10 to 0-2 over the next 20 minutes.
Coulter was unerring from placed balls, with Ciaran Mathewson tagging on a couple, and Tyrone could only manage two Casey frees in response.
However, Mattie Lennon’s men continued to battle, and were rewarded when Bryan McGurk flicked to the net from a Casey free.
However, that merely sparked another Donegal flourish, with Coulter, Flynn and substitute Caolan McDermott pushing them further ahead and ultimately to a convincing 14 points victory.
Tyrone: C McElhatton; C McNally, R Devlin, P McHugh; L Devlin (0-1), S Donnelly, C Kearns (0-2); D Begley (0-1), C Cross; D Casey (0-7, 4f, 1 ’65), P O’Kelly, J Ferguson; A Kelly, R McKernan (0-1), B McGurk (1-0)
Subs: J Kelly for McKernan, P Daly for Ferguson, T Morgan for Cross, L Armstrong for O’Kelly
Donegal: P Burns, P Doherty, C McDermott, S Gillespie; J Donnelly (0-1), D Cullen, C Matthewson (0-3); J Boyle, S McVeigh; D Coulter (0-13, 9f), D Flynn (1-5), B Lafferty; E McDermott, R McDermott (0-1), G Gilmore (0-2).
Subs: K Campbell for E McDermott, G Browne for Donnelly, C McDermott (0-1) for Coulter, N Cleary for Boyle.
Referee: K McGeeney (Roscommon).