Sport Gaelic Football

Monday 20 November 2017

Murphy makes most of McDonald red to sink Tipp

Donegal 0-12
Tipperary 0-4

DONEGAL boss Jimmy McGuinness admitted that the dismissal of Tipperary full-back Ciaran McDonald turned this match decisively in his team's favour.

The Ulster champions deserved to qualify for the county's first All-Ireland football final at any level since the 1992 senior decider, but their cause was greatly aided by the dismissal of Tipperary captain McDonald, who was shown a second yellow in the 32nd minute.

The loss of McDonald, whose first yellow card offence in the early stages of the game seemed a harsh decision by referee Damien Brazil, deprived Tipperary of their key defender. He had been doing a magnificent job in containing Donegal's class forward Michael Murphy.

Donegal made full use of their numerical superiority, with Murphy leading the way. He ended the game with a six-point haul that helped him secure the man-of-the-match accolade.

"It changed the game," conceded McGuinness. "I feel for the lad. He's a phenomenal player and it was a phenomenal tussle between himself and Michael before that. It definitely had a huge bearing on the game and it freed things up for us around the middle."

Tipperary manager John Evans said: "Ciaran was doing tremendously well. He had the upper hand on Michael Murphy in the first-half. I just thought the referee panicked in giving the first yellow, but we have to abide by the decision."

Donegal led 0-3 to 0-1 after a low-scoring and keenly contested first half, but then came the sending-off and the winners seized the advantage.

While senior star Murphy was their key man at full-forward, he received great support around the pitch from Kevin Mulhern, Conor Classon, Mark McHugh and James Carroll.

Donegal led 0-8 to 0-3 at the close of the third quarter, with Carroll, Murphy and Dermot Molloy all on target.

Tipperary battled bravely to the finish, with Alan Moloney, Sean Carey and Padraig O'Dwyer attempting to ignite their challenge, but Donegal's strength at the back kept them at bay.

After Moloney trimmed the gap to four with a beautiful 46th-minute point, Donegal hit four on the trot courtesy of Murphy (two), Carroll and Molloy to ensure they ran out convincing winners.

Scorers -- Donegal: M Murphy 0-6 (0-3f), D Molloy 0-3

(0-1f), J Carroll 0-2, L McLoone 0-1. Tipperary: S Carey 0-2 (0-1f), C Sweeney (f), A Moloney 0-1 each.

DONEGAL -- P Boyle; D Walsh, C Boyle, P McGrath; E Doherty, D Curran, K Mulhern; L McLoone, C Classon; D McLaughlin, D Molloy, T McKinley; A McFadden, M Murphy, M McHugh. Subs: J Carroll for McLaughlin (h/t), P McNelis for McKinley (45), C Morrisson for McFadden (60), D Murphy for McGrath (60), S O'Kennedy for Curran (60).

TIPPERARY -- K Kenrick; D Lynch, C McDonald, R Kiely; D Dwyer, J Coghlan, P O'Dwyer; A Moloney, P Acheson; S Carey, B O'Brien, A Matassa; C Sweeney, S Egan, M O'Dwyer. Subs: P McEvoy for M O'Dwyer (h/t), T Hanly for Matassa (45), B O'Meara for Egan (48), G Ryan for O'Brien (55), D Heffernan for Carey (60).

Ref -- Damien Brazil (Offaly).

Irish Independent

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