O'Neill out for six weeks to deepen Tyrone misery after Walsh winner
Published 01/02/2010 | 05:00
Former Footballer of the Year Stephen O'Neill has been ruled out for at least six weeks after dislocating an elbow in Tyrone's last-gasp final defeat to Donegal on Saturday night.
The attacker will definitely miss three National League games, and the outlook could be worse if an MRI scan reveals further damage.
"We're hoping there's no fractures there," said Tyrone assistant manager Tony Donnelly.
O'Neill had just put Tyrone four points ahead, nine minutes into the second half at Brewster Park, when he suffered the injury -- play was held up for 10 minutes as an ambulance was called.
The Red Hands scored just two further points, and lost out to a winning goal by David Walsh in the 10th minute of stoppage time.
Clan na nGael forward O'Neill will miss the NFL ties against Derry, Mayo and Monaghan, but could be back for the home game against Cork on March 13.
Tyrone will be hoping that Justin McMahon is available for Saturday's league opener against Derry. The full-back suffered mild concussion after sustaining a bang to the back of the head.
Walsh's sensational strike gave Donegal back-to-back McKenna Cup titles.
The Red Hands had victory snatched away when Walsh first-timed a loose ball to the bottom corner from eight yards.
Michael Murphy, who had scored 2-9 against Tyrone in an epic draw 10 days earlier, was well held this time, managing just a point from play, along with a couple of frees, but Donegal's workrate was impressive.
Adrian Hanlon, Leo McLoone and Walsh all chipped in with neat scores to keep the contest close -- the game was level on seven occasions.
Martin Penrose notched some classy points, with Peter Harte, Joe McMahon, Tommy McGuigan and Kyle Coney also on target.
But after O'Neill's departure, Donegal pegged Tyrone back with scores from McFadden, Murphy and Walsh, who equalised in the 72nd minute.
Sub Niall Gormley regained the lead for Tyrone to end a half-hour barren spell, but when their defence failed to clear in the dying moments, Walsh pounced decisively.
Scorers -- Donegal: D Walsh 1-2, M Murphy 0-3 (0-2fs), C McFadden (0-2fs), A Hanlon 0-2 each, L McLoone, N Gallagher 0-1 each. Tyrone: S O'Neill 0-4 (0-3fs), M Penrose 0-3, K Coney, J McMahon, T McGuigan, P Harte, N Gormley, A Cassidy 0-1 each.
Donegal -- P Durcan, J Keeney, N McGee, P McDaid, E Wade, F McGlynn, K Cassidy, F McNulty, N Gallagher, E Kelly, D Walsh, L McLoone, A Hanlon, C McFadden, M Murphy. Subs: M McGowan for Kelly (46), M McGuire for McNulty (71)
Tyrone -- J Curran, C McGurk, Justin McMahon, M Swift, Joe McMahon, C Gormley, D Carlin, K Hughes, E McGinley, K Coney, T McGuigan, P Harte, M Penrose, S O'Neill, N McKenna. Subs: B McGuigan for McGurk (h-t), A Cassidy for Justin McMahon (ht), Mark Donnelly for O'Neil (45), N Gormley for McKenna (69), Mattie Donnelly for T McGuigan (69).
Ref -- J McKee (Armagh).