Mattie Donnelly pushed Tyrone onto the front foot against Clare says Red Hands boss Dooher

Evergreen Trillick clubman Donnelly to the fore as Tyrone set up final round battle with Cork

Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly has regained full fitness and form after suffering a serious knee injury last year

TYRONE needed leadership on Sunday and evergreen Mattie Donnelly provided it with four excellent points from play as the Red Hands overwhelmed Clare in the second half at O’Neill’s Healy Park.

On a day when U20 All-Ireland winner Shea O’Hare made his senior debut and Niall Devlin scored his first Championship goals, veteran Donnelly looked in great shape and fine form as he produced a vintage display to steer Tyrone to their first win of the group stage.

“He got into the game and really pushed on in the second half,” said Tyrone joint-manager Brian Dooher.

“When we needed to get onto the front foot he pushed us on and got us a couple of great scores from the right wing.”

Next up for Tyrone is a Cork side that came within three points of Kerry in the Munster Championship and have since accounted for Clare (in Ennis) and Ulster champions Donegal.

Dooher hopes that his side can find the consistency they need to build momentum and progress deep into this summer.

“It’ll be a very tough challenge against Cork given the two performances they’ve had – particularly the one against Donegal because, as we know, there’s not too many teams have had the upper hand on them this year,” said the former Tyrone skipper.

“It was a very nervous performance for a lot of it. There wasn’t that cohesion and there was probably a bit of rashness but Niall Devlin kept us in it in the first half and we chipped enough scores to mean that we could push on in the second half and, to be fair, we went out and gradually settled into the game and got the scores we needed.

“We need a bit of consistency, we need a back-to-back win to get into any sort of position to move forward.”