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Donnelly back for Trillick to boost Tyrone hopes

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Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly made his comeback from serious injury in a club game yesterday, lining out for Trillick in the Division 1A opener against Clonoe. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly made his comeback from serious injury in a club game yesterday, lining out for Trillick in the Division 1A opener against Clonoe. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly made his comeback from serious injury in a club game yesterday, lining out for Trillick in the Division 1A opener against Clonoe. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Tyrone captain Mattie Donnelly made his comeback from serious injury in a club game yesterday, lining out for Trillick in the Division 1A opener against Clonoe.

It was the former All-Star's first appearance since last October, when he suffered a serious hamstring injury, a tendon ripped away from the bone which required surgery to re-connect.

Donnelly was absent for the opening five games of the National League and looked set to miss out on the Ulster Championship meeting with Donegal.

But the four-month suspension of GAA activities during the pandemic offered him time to recover and complete his rehab, which took a huge step in the right direction when he came through yesterday's tie without any adverse reaction, although the county champions got off to a losing start, going down by 3-12 to 0-9.

All-Star Cathal McShane also recovered from an ankle injury during lockdown, and both men are set to return to the Tyrone team for the resumption of the inter-county season.

Elsewhere, Jack O'Loughlin was in seventh heaven as Buncrana upset 39-times Donegal SHC winners Burt.

O'Loughlin hit seven points as up-and-coming Buncrana scored a 0-15 to 1-8 away win at Hibernian Park.

The opening round of the Donegal SHC operates on a round robin format with reigning champions Setanta having the first weekend off, allowing them to study the form.

Buncrana were 0-11 to 0-3 ahead after making good use of the strong breeze in the first period. With O'Loughlin to the fore, Buncrana surged away.

Caolan McDermott hit 0-7 for Burt, but they were unable to really wobble their neighbours. Ten minutes from the end, Joe Boyle smashed a 20-metre free to the net, but Buncrana held on for an excellent win.

St Eunan's, the beaten finalists in 2019, defeated Sean MacCumhaills 1-12 to 1-8 in Letterkenny. MacCumhaills led 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time but St Eunan's moved into command.

Seán McVeigh and Conor O'Grady each hit four points for the black and amber, who were five ahead when Cian Randles hit a goal on 52 minutes.

Ciarán Matthewson helped himself to 1-3, including a late goal from a free, but it wasn't enough.

In the Donegal JHC, it was a day to savour for Dungloe, who fielded an adult hurling team for the first time. Shaun McGee netted the goal in a 1-9 to 0-9 win over St Eunan's.

Irish Independent