Lynch's late strike gives Donegal edge in close encounter
Donegal 1-11 Tyrone 0-11
A late strike from Eddie Lynch was the decisive score as Donegal overcame Tyrone in the final of the Andrew O'Neill Cup - the equivalent of the U-21C All-Ireland - at Celtic Park last night.
With the sides level at 0-11 and little or nothing to choose between them, Bernard Lafferty won a free right in front of the posts with just three minutes remaining.
Standing 20 metres from goal, Lynch stood over the sliotar, but his effort caught everyone by surprise. He shot low and the ball skewed and slipped underneath a Tyrone defender and over the line.
The Tyrone side, managed by Mattie Lennon, posted five unanswered points - with Matthew Mulgrew and Dywer Marshall scoring twice apiece - and that gave the Red Hands a 0-6 to 0-4 first-half lead.
It would be Marshall who was at the centre of most of Tyrone's positive work. He would score six points in all.
Donegal kept clawing away and finished the half on a positive note, Conor Harkin and Lafferty, with a free, tied things up at the interval at 0-6 each.
That trend of tit-for-tat showed little sign of abating. The sides were level eight times in all.
It was a cruel end for Tyrone, but with the closeness of the contest, it always seemed as though it was going to take something a little out of the ordinary to win it. That's what happened.
The reward for Donegal is a place in the quarter-finals of the U-21B competition and a meeting with Mayo on Saturday week, August 8.
SCORERS - Donegal: Lynch 1-1 (1f), C Harkin 0-2, S Curran 0-2, B Lafferty 0-2 (1f), C O'Grady 0-1, S Doherty 0-1, K Meehan 0-1, C McNeely 0-1. Tyrone: D Marshall 0-6 (3f), M Mulgrew 0-3, R McKernan 0-1, P Daly 0-1.
Donegal - D Laverty; C Rami, G McGrath, M Callaghan; C O'Grady, D McLaughlin, O Rooney; C Harkin, S Doherty; S Curran, K Meehan, C McNeely ; B Lafferty, C Gallen, E Lynch. Subs: A McCauley for Gallen (43), C Doherty for McNeely (50), J McBride for for Curran (56), C Melaugh for Meehan (60).
Tyrone - A Devine; A Byrne, R Devlin, M McCroary; D Rushe, S Muldoon, L Devlin; R McKernan, D Rafferty; J Ferguson, D Marshall, R Kelly; P Daly (0-1), M Mulgrew, C McCrudden. Subs: P Conway for Rushe (40), B Molloy for McCrudden (58).
Ref - K Brady (Louth).