Tyrone avenged their recent league play-off defeat to Donegal by condemning them to the back door in Saturday afternoon’s Nicky Rackard Championship opener in Letterkenny.
Donegal’s replay defeat of the Red Hand in Derry two weeks ago ended a 17 game unbeaten run for their North West neighbours and it clearly stung as they went at Ray Durrack’s men with the intensity of a wounded animal from the start.
The hosts still had the better of the first half possession but a brilliant solo goal from ace marksman Damien Casey meant last year’s champions at this level were a point to the good at the break.
In the second half the visitors were much the better side however as they reduced Donegal to three frees from Lee Henderson to emerge more comfortable winners than the scoreline suggests.
Donegal had netted five goals in the two play-off games between this pair last month but Tyrone clearly had their homework done on this occasion as they cut off the supply to the home side’s potent forwards by pressing in numbers in midfield.
The long range frees of Donegal’s Lee Henderson and Tyrone’s Casey were again a feature but it was Tyrone’s better use of their possession that won them the game as midfielder Justin Kelly , who again impressed for the men in white and red, chipped in with three points from play.
Donegal added Burt’s Stephen Gillespie up top for the final quarter of the game and he came close with a goal effort that could have made things interesting late on but, in truth, Donegal were beaten by a hungrier side.
Final score in Letterkenny Donegal 0-11 Tyrone 1-12
All the action and reaction from today's game in this week's Inish Times and Donegal Post.
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