Ulster SFC Final: Donegal 0-11 0-13 Tyrone

Connor McAliskey challenges Ryan McHugh for possession during the first half
Ulster Championship final: Donegal 0-11 Tyrone 0-13
Donegal scorers: P McBrearty 0-3, M Murphy 0-2, R McHugh 0-3, O MacNiallais 0-2, C Toye 0-1
Tyrone scorers: N Morgan 0-2, C McShane 0-1, N Sludden 0-1, C McCarron 0-1, R Brennan 0-1, P Harte 0-2, S Cavanagh 0-3, D McCurry 0-1, C McGeary 0-1

Tyrone produced a rousing finish to overhaul Donegal's four-point lead and run out two-point winners in Sunday's Ulster Championship final at Clones.

The Red Hands trailed 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time, having had Mattie Donnelly and Cathal McShane black-carded.

Tyrone battled their way back into the game and spectacular late points from Sean Cavanagh, Peter Harte and Ciaran McGeary completed a thrilling finish.

It was their 14th Ulster success and their first Anglo-Celt Cup since 2010.

Tyrone named an unchanged line-up from that which convincingly saw off Cavan in their semi-final replay a fortnight ago, while Neil McGee returned for Donegal, Martin McElhinney dropping out of the starting team.

Rory Gallagher's side went into the decider with recent history on their side, having won the last four Ulster Championship meetings between the counties.

But it was Mickey Harte's men who signalled that they have become major players once again as they turned their potential into silverware, prevailing when the pressure was on in a tension-filled frantic closing 10 minutes.

Re-live the action as it happened at Clones

Donegal have the better of first half

The first half was played at a largely pedestrian pace in gloriously sunny conditions, the early stages being punctuated by a number of wides from both sides.

Niall Morgan and McShane pointed to give Tyrone a two-point lead and it was the 12th minute before Donegal registered their first score through a Paddy McBrearty free.

Michael Murphy levelled, then the game began to open up for a period, Ryan McHugh knocking over three well-taken points, Odhran McNiallais landing the best point of the half and McBrearty kicking his second free for Donegal.

Niall Sludden and Cathal McCarron got their names on the scoresheet to keep the Red Hands in touch but those black cards for Donnelly and McShane dealt a major blow to Mickey Harte's side before the interval.

Donnelly was penalised for a body check on Eoin McHugh and McShane for verbal abuse of the umpire after hand-tripping Neil McGee.

Tyrone's Niall Sludden and Ronan McNabb tackle Michael Murphy of Donegal
Tyrone's Niall Sludden and Ronan McNabb tackle Michael Murphy of Donegal

Tyrone improve after the break

A McBrearty free at the start of the second half extended his side's lead to 0-8 to 0-4 but four unanswered points from Rory Brennnan, Harte, Cavanagh and Morgan drew a much-improved Tyrone side level.

MacNiallais nudged Gallagher's men in front again, while at the other end McCarron blasted a goal chance wide, then Cavanagh restored parity again.

With four minutes remaining, Murphy's sweetly-executed long-range free put Donegal ahead but substitute Darren McCurry set up a hectic finish by responding to score a point with his first touch of the ball after coming on as a substitute in the 68th minute.

Christy Toye scored to make it 0-11 to 0-10, before Tyrone were denied a strong penalty claim as referee David Coldrick waved away appeals after Ciaran Gillespie looked to have fouled Brennan.

As the game moved into six minutes of injury-time, an inspired point from Cavanagh brought the sides level but the first in several further late twists then came at the other end as Murphy missed a long-range free.

Amid incredible excitement, Harte made Murphy pay for the miss as he fired over an exceptional point from distance and substitute McGeary immediately doubled Tyrone's lead to leave Donegal shell-shocked.

What's next?

Tyrone advance to an All-Ireland quarter-final on 6 August, with Donegal competing in Round 4B of the Qualifiers against Cork on the weekend of 30 July-1 August.

What they said

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte:"This is what you dream of. The hunger has been there for six years and it came out at the end of the game.

"It looked like the game had got away from us but we bounced back. The work done, the hours and effort put in when nobody is watching, that's what gives us the belief.

"I know the qualities these men possess, they are a class act and I knew they had the potential to become winners."

Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh: "We have had so many battles with Donegal in recent years and come out second best. With Michael Murphy on form kicking frees, it felt like it was maybe not going to be our day again.

"The boys really stood up and were counted, with some great scores. It shows the strength and depth we have in our squad."

How they lined up

Tyrone: N Morgan, A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron, T McCann, J McMahon, P Harte, C Cavanagh, M Donnelly, C McShane, N Sludden, R McNabb, C McAliskey, S Cavanagh, R O'Neill.

Donegal: M A McGinley; P McGrath, N McGee, C Gillespie; R McHugh, K Lacey, F McGlynn; R Kavanagh, O MacNiallais; A Thompson, E McGee, E McHugh; P McBrearty, M Murphy, M O'Reilly.

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath)

Attendance: 33,433

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