| 8.3°C Dublin

Harte: Misfiring Morgan will find his range again in championship

IN THE 64th minute of yesterday's Ballybofey battle, Tyrone won a free roughly 50 metres out from goal on the right hand side of the pitch, well within the range of Niall Morgan, writes Conor McKeon.

At once, the entire Donegal support stood up and ironically waved the Red Hand keeper to come up and strike it, just as he had the previous six.

This time, he didn't budge.

Four wides and one dropped short. The sneering of every Donegal supporter in Mac Cumhaill Park and a few words of encouragement from some of their players on the way back – just for good measure – perhaps entered his mind.

"Sometimes kickers have a day like that," mused Mickey Harte. "In the league final he couldn't miss a kick and today he missed several of them. He is still a very good place-kicker and I have no doubt we will see him kicking over points again."

Still, Donegal's tactic of placing three of their tallest players right in front of the kick probably didn't help, particularly when they weren't quite the required 13 metres from the kick.

"Well, there are plenty of officials around to know what 13 metres look like and I think it's time that they started to count a wee bit better," Harte suggested.

With each miss, a little of Tyrone's momentum fell away. And when Paddy McBrearty (pictured) skinned Dermot Carlin and Martin Penrose to hand Ross Wherity Donegal's second goal, you had the feeling Tyrone wouldn't recover.

"It just showed today that he is maturing all the time," said Jim McGuinness of his 19-year-old protege.

"He is maturing as a player and as a person. That is why we brought him into the team two years ago.

"I knew he (McBrearty) was going to play well today," the Donegal manager added when asked about 'bitegate'.

"Now, we have Patrick, Michael (Murphy) and Colm (McFadden) all of the same ilk. That is what any manager wants – inside forwards who can equally distribute the scores."