McShane 'pumping with pride' after Tyrone hurler secure Nickey Rackard final spot with win over Donegal
Nickey Rackard Cup: Tyrone 1-23 Donegal 1-19
Tyrone will face Roscommon in next weekend’s Nickey Rackard Cup final, their second successive appearance in the decider secured by way of a thrilling derby win over Donegal at Pairc Colmcille in Carrickmore.
The visitors came from eight points behind to draw level, but the Red Hands stepped up the tempo going down the home strait to pull away for the win they needed.
A draw would have been enough for Donegal to go to Croke Park, but they were unable to find that late goal that would have tied a fast-moving tie played in perfect conditions on a pristine surface.
“I’m absolutely pumping with pride,” said Tyrone manager Michael McShane.
“We were really up against it there. We were six up at half-time, and Donegal came back and levelled it with about ten minutes to go.
“But that was a real sign of the desire and the want our boys have to win this competition.
“They looked at themselves and they played out of their skins in the last ten minutes and got us over the line. I’m absolutely proud of every one of them.”
Damian Casey, who was to finish with 1-12, danced through to slot home an eighth minute goal, and added a handful of points for a four points lead.
The Red Hands continued to boss the opening half, although scores from Declan Coulter and Daire O Maoileidigh kept Mickey McCann’s side in touch.
Donegal had a couple of goal chances, but ‘keeper Conor McElhatton came to the rescue, saving from Ronan McDermott, and scores from Lorcan Devlin and Sean Og Grogan helped Tyrone to a 1-11 to 0-8 interval lead.
But Donegal came roaring back, with Ritche Ryan booting home a 43rd minute goal to spark their revival.
O Maoileidigh struck accurately from frees, and McDermott landed a brilliant score as they chipped away at the lead.
Casey’s accuracy kept Tyrone noses in front, but late in the half a string of points, from O Maoileidigh and subs Liam McKinney and Bernard Lafferty, followed by Ryan’s equaliser, tied it up at 1-18 each.
The Red Hands reacted, Casey landing a couple of long range points, and sealing his side’s place in the final with a delightful sideline cut.
Tyrone scorers: D Casey 1-12 (0-6 f, 0-1 ’65, 0-1 s/l), CJ McGourty, L Devlin, C Kearns 0-2 each, S Og Grogan, A Kelly, R Slane, B McGurk, R Weir 0-1 each.
Donegal scorers: R Ryan 1-1, D O Maoileidigh 0-5 (2f, 2 ‘65s), R McDermott, L McKinney 0-3 each, D Cullen, D Coulter (1f) 0-2 each, G Gilmore, C McDermott, B Lafferty 0-1 each.
Tyrone: C McElhatton; O McKee, R Devlin, D Rafferty; C Kearns (0-2), D Begley, R Slane (0-1); B McGurk (0-1), T Morgan; A Kelly (0-1), C Grogan, CJ McGourty (0-2); L Devlin (0-2), D Casey (0-12, 0-6 frees, 0-1 ’65, 0-1 s/l), S Og Grogan (0-1).
Subs: C McNally for Rafferty, R Weir (0-1) for McGourty, A Crossan for Morgan.
Donegal: L White; C O’Grady, S Gillespie, G Browne; S McBride, S McVeigh, M Donaghue; J O’Loughlin, D Cullen (0-2); D O Maoileidigh (0-5, 2f, 2 ‘65s) , D Coulter (0-2, 1f), R Ryan (1-1); C McDermott (0-1), R McDermott (0-3), G Gilmore (0-1).
Subs: R Campbell for O’Grady, L McKinney (0-3) for Coulter, P Doherty for O’Loughlin, B Lafferty (0-1) for Donaghue.
Referee: J Judge (Mayo).