McNulty ends Tyrone's U-21 drought
Ulster U-21FC final Tyrone 1-11 Donegal 0-13
Published 09/04/2015 | 02:30
Daniel McNulty converted a 30-metre injury-time free in Celtic Park to end Tyrone's nine-year wait for an Ulster U-21 title.
After a turbulent week for Tyrone football, this was an important victory for the Red Hand county and they left it late to secure victory with McNulty nailing the free after Cathal McShane was fouled by Ciaran Thompson.
It was a bitter blow for Donegal, who also lost the last two Ulster finals to Cavan, especially when it looked like they had the winning momentum late on.
Tyrone were the more assured side and Conor Meyler's eighth-minute goal gave them an early cushion that they held on to for most of the game.
Despite playing poorly, Donegal came good in the last ten minutes and reeled off three points in a row to draw level, before Tyrone struck the killer free.
In front of 3,239 supporters in Celtic Park, Meyler grabbed the crucial score of the opening half, with his low finish across the goalkeeper into the far corner of the net. Both sides looked comfortable breaking forward and Lee Brennan scored a couple of superb left-footed points, one from a very difficult angle before the break.
Ryan McHugh was involved in a great Donegal move, his good run and superb pass to Darach O'Connor resulting in an impressive score. Tyrone led by 1-6 to 0-6 at half-time.
After a poor first half, Donegal made two half-time substitutions to try and inject some urgency into their play and Willie Gillespie and Hugh McFadden did post scores early in the second half.
Ruairi McGlone capitalised on a poor Donegal kick-out to score a point and McNulty's great catch and turn led to his first from play to leave Tyrone three points up with ten minutes remaining.
Donegal had their best spell of the game in the last ten minutes, hitting three unanswered points from Eamon McGrath, Darach O'Connor and sub Stephen McBrearty hit the equaliser in the last minute of normal time.
Tyrone mounted one last attack and McNulty stepped up to convert the free which booked Tyrone's place in the All-Ireland semi-final against Roscommon on Saturday week.
Scorers - Tyrone: L Brennan 0-4 (2f), D McNulty 0-4 (3f), C Meyler 1-0, C McShane 0-1, M Cassidy 0-1, R McGlone 0-1. Donegal: H McFadden 0-5 (4f), E McHugh 0-2, D O'Connor 0-2, W Gillespie 0-1, C Thompson 0-1 (f), E McGrath 0-1, S McBrearty 0-1.
Tyrone - S Fox; R Mullan, P Hampsey, M Cassidy; C McLaughlin, R Brennan, K McGeary; F Burns, C McShane; C Meyler, M Kavanagh, M Walsh; L Brennan, D McNulty, R McGlone. Subs: R Kelly for McLaughlin (BC, 29), M Bradley for McGlone (45), S McKenna for Burns (57).
Donegal - D Rodgers; C Morrison, C Parke, J O'Brien; R McHugh, D Mulgrew, E Gallagher; T McClenaghan, C Thompson; O Crawford, L Connor, D O'Connor; W Gillespie, H McFadden, E McHugh. Subs: E McGrath for Morrison (h-t), S McBrearty for McClenaghan (h-t), J Brennan for Connor (55), C Mulligan for Crawford (55), C McGonigle for Gillespie (58).
Ref - N Mooney (Cavan)