Tyrone are through to an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final against Monaghan after victory  over their great rivals Donegal in Ballybofey.

It finished Tyrone 2-17, Donegal 1-13.

There was little to choose between the teams in a tight first half before a capacity crowd at MacCumhaill Park, but a Michael Murphy goal enabled the home side to go in leading by 1-6 to 0-6.

However, Tyrone were much the better team in the second half as they went on to win a championship game in Ballybofey for the first time since 1973.

A number of timely substitutions and a strong finish saw Mickey Harte's side come from behind to secure a famous victory.

Harry Loughran got the Tyroen goal that really changed the game and the visitors added a late second goal through Decky McClure to put a gloss on the final scoreline.

Tyrone took the lead straight from the start through Tiernan McCann but Donegal responded almost immediately through a Michael Murphy free.

Donegal, unbeaten in their last 21 league and championship games in Ballybofey, then fell behind to a Mark Bradley point at the end of a sweeping move.

MacCumhaill Park was packed for the big game

The phsycial nature of the game was soon evident as Michael McKiernan got a black card following a charge on Ryan McHugh.

Connor McAliskey scored a free to make it 0-3 to 0-1 in favour of Tyrone after 13 minutes of a game that saw both teams adopting defensive tactics early on.

Murphy then pointed with a free to reduce the deficit to one but Tyrone swept up the other end and Mattie Donnelly was on target again with a left-footed shot that just got over the bar to make it 0-4 to 0-2.

Both sides were guilty of a couple of scoreable wides, but Tyrone's misses were more costly.

But Ryan McHugh then fired over a great point for Donegal which really lifted them and within 60 seconds the Declan Bonner managed side were level as Ciaran Thompson landed a great score.

However, Tyrone responded by going back into the lead with a decent finish from Colm Cavanagh before a brilliant score from distance by the lively Jamie Brennan brought the sides level again.

Jamie Brennan put Donegal ahead 0-6 to 0-5 with a fine score and then a poor kick-out from Niall Morgan saw Ryan McHugh seize possession and find Michael Murphy and he duly blasted the ball into the net for a hugely important goal.

Donegal fans celebrate after Michael Murphy's first-half goal

McAliskey got the last score of the half to reduce the arrears to three points. It was Tyrone's first score for 15 minutes.

Following a half-time break of 20 minutes, Michael Langan got the first point of the second half to extend the lead out to 1-7 to 0-6 before Peter Harte chipped over a free at the other end to bring it back to a three point game.

Odhran MacNiallais then scored from play to put Donegal back in front by four but substitute Lee Brennan responded wth two points in quick succession at the other end as suddenly the game began to really open up for the first time as play swung from end to end.

MacNiallais, though, was on target again to make it Donegal 1-9, Tyrone 0-9 as the intensity of the game increased, as did the illegal challenges, which kept referee Joe McQuillan busy. And Jamie Brennan then got his third point of the game before Tyrone added a score through Padraig Hampsey.

Donegal had a scare when Lee Brennan surged forward and drove the ball across the Donegal goal but there was nobody able to capitalise on the chance and moments later another goal chance was blocked by Ryan McHugh. On a quick counter-attack Paddy McGrath got an important point for Donegal.

Lee Brennan, handed the free-taking duties, scored an equally important free then for Tyrone with 16 minutes left to leave it 1-11 to 0-11 in favour of Donegal. Tyrone followed up with their best move of the game with Hampsey sending the ball over the bar for another point.

And there was only a point between them with 11 minutes to go after a Tyrone point from Kieran McGeary.

With Donegal firing a number of wides, Tyrone sensed that the tide was turning.


And Tyrone then scored a goal with Harry Loughran getting the final touch from close range to put the visitors into the lead by 1-13 to 1-11.

Suddenly, Donegal - who needed the win whereas Tyrone needed just a draw - were in bother.

Donegal's scoring famine of 12 minutes was ended by a great Eoghan Ban Gallagher point to bring Donegal back to within a point, but Tyrone swept up the park and Mattie Donnelly fired over a great point.

It was nail-biting, nervous stuff as the game entered the final few minutes.

Niall Morgan then scored a free to make it 1-15 to 1-12 for Tyrone.

Lee Brennan added another point as the game went into seven minutes of injury time.

Niall O'Donnell got a good score for Donegal to reduce it to three as Donegal searched for a goal.

But Ronan McNamee got a 75th minute point to make it 1-17 to 1-13.

And deep into stoppage time the icing on the cake for Tyrone was a last attack second goal, courtesy of Decky McClure.

It was a disappointing conclusion to the game for Donegal who faded and Tyrone ultimately deserved their victory.

It finished Donegal 1-13, Tyrone 2-17.

The Super 8s series has now concluded and we now have the fantastic four: Dublin, Tyrone, Monaghan and Galway.

For extensive coverage see this week's Donegal Post, Inish Times, Letterkenny Post and Finn Valley Post.

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