Donegal quickly put Tyrone win on ice as Jim McGuinness prepares for long road

‘We played for the first time all year with the sense of energy and abandonment because we won Ulster’

All-Ireland SFC Round 1: Donegal 0-21 Tyrone 0-14

The streets of the twin towns were just becoming giddy when the Donegal team coach snaked out the narrow exit at Seán MacCumhaill Park after their victory over Tyrone on Saturday night.

The vast majority of the 16,607 who had bore witness to another performance – and result – of note for Donegal were still spilling on to the streets of Ballybofey and Stranorlar, its twin across the River Finn, as Jim McGuinness’s men made for Convoy.

McGuinness values every percentage. Every decimal point has its place in the plan and, after a seven-point win over their Ulster rivals, McGuinness had his men in ice baths, 10 kilometres away at the Donegal GAA Centre.

“We know what we’re heading for and we just have to do as much as we can,” McGuinness told media who likewise scurried to Convoy. “We have to start from zero again and go as hard as we can in terms of the bits and pieces around the edges.


“The turnaround is very sharp and on top of that we have a very long travel. The whole thing is so competitive and there are no easy games.”

Seven points from Oisín Gallen, playing on his home turf, helped fire Donegal to a second win in a month over Tyrone. While the Ulster semi-final was in a melting point until the dying moments of extra-time, Donegal left nothing to chance here.

Donegal, who saw the excellent Peadar Mogan post three points, outscored Tyrone 0-11 to 0-5 in the second half.

When Kieran McGeary posted with only 12 minutes to go, just when Peter Harte was making his introduction, Tyrone were within three (0-16 to 0-13) and their hopes lifted again.

Cathal McShane, on for his 100th Tyrone appearance, sliced wide with a chance that just maybe might have asked a different question, but Donegal finished well and Michael Langan soared over to twist the knife for the final time.

“You’re first game at home as Ulster champions, you really do want to win it,” McGuinness said. “Delighted that the boys found a way to express themselves more than they have in the Ulster championship.”

Darragh Canavan rifled a goal chance wide in the first half and an exciting tussle was delicately poised, Donegal leading 0-10 to 0-9 at the midway point.

Donegal, too, had a big moment when Ciarán Thompson’s effort on goal in the 30th minute clipped a post on its way just the wrong side of its target.

Ballybofey shook when Thompson pointed a mark for a five-point advantage and Donegal finished with a real purpose.

“We played for the first time all year with the sense of energy and abandonment because we won Ulster,” said McGuinenss.

It mightn’t be the last.

DONEGAL: S Patton; E Gallagher (0-1), B McCole, C Moore; R McHugh (0-1), C McGonagle, P Mogan (0-3); J McGee (0-2), M Langan (0-1); S O’Donnell (0-1), C Thompson (0-2, 0-1m), D Ó Baoill; P McBrearty (0-2, 0-1f), O Gallen (0-7, 0-5f), N O’Donnell.

Subs: O Doherty (0-1) for Ó Baoill (45 mins); J Brennan for McBrearty (55); A Doherty for N.O’Donnell (61); J Mac Ceallabhui for Gallagher (66); D Mac Giolla Bhride for Gallen (69).

TYRONE: N Morgan (0-1, 0-1f); N Devlin (0-1), P Hampsey, M McKernan; B Cullen, M Donnelly (0-1), K McGeary (0-3); B Kennedy, C Kilpatrick; C Daly, M O’Neill, S O’Donnell (0-1); D McCurry (0-4, 0-1m, 0-1f), D Canavan (0-3, 03f), R Canavan.

Subs: J Oguz for R Canavan, C Quinn for Cullen (both h-t); C McShane for McCurry (51 mins); P Harte for Kilpatrick (58); L McGarrity for O’Neill (66).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).