McBrearty concerns add to Donegal's woe after defeat to Tyrone
Tyrone 2-13 Donegal 1-10
Donegal were anxiously awaiting the results of a scan on Patrick McBrearty, with fears he may be ruled out for at least the rest of their league campaign after he sat out Saturday night's defeat to Tyrone at Healy Park.
The Kilcar man, the leading scorer in Division One going into the weekend, was omitted from the starting line-up and the visiting attack certainly missed his presence, with captain Michael Murphy gingerly trying to find some form after his winter lay-off following a groin operation.
Asked about McBrearty's injury, Donegal manager Declan Bonner was coy: "He's picked up an injury that he needs a scan on. We'll see what the story is on it."
Requested to specify the nature of the injury, he replied: "You can talk to the medical team about that," and when pressed further on whether it could have any long-term effects, he answered, "I can't really comment on it. He wasn't available tonight," adding that he was "not sure" if McBrearty would be available in the crucial relegation battle against Monaghan in Clones next Sunday.
It is thought that McBrearty has been suffering with a knee injury since Donegal's loss to Dublin and that ligaments could be damaged.
In rattling up 1-10 here Donegal missed his presence to occupy more Tyrone defenders. While the home side were comfortable in the end, it took a goal close to either side of half-time to give them a platform to go on to claim the points and only their second win of the league campaign.
The first came when Niall Sludden forced a turnover by blocking down Murphy, then got on the end of the subsequent move to stroke past Shaun Patton in the Donegal goal. The goal atoned for Peter Harte's penalty miss on 31 minutes after Sludden was hauled down by Patton, but bizarrely avoided a black card from referee David Coldrick.
The second goal came after a beautiful dummy by Mark Bradley that confounded Leo McLoone and the finish was even more cheeky when he rolled it between the advancing Patton's legs.
Donegal were to get a goal back for themselves when Tyrone were caught out by a rapid counter-attack. Odhran MacNiallais, who decorated this game at times, batted a fisted pass by Eoghan Ban Gallagher to the net.
They had actually got to within two points of Tyrone by that stage, MacNiallais picking out Eamonn Doherty for a fine score and Hugh McFadden thumping a shot that dropped from the skies just over Niall Morgan's crossbar, but Tyrone were to score the last four points of the game and reassert themselves.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was delighted at his side's response to their poor home form: "We have found that we lose too many games in Omagh, and every other county's home ground seems to be a bit of a fortress, and that is not the case with Omagh to date with us, so we have to try to do something about that.
"In order to do something about it, you need to beat good teams, and I would count that beating a good quality team tonight."
He also heaped praise on the diminutive Killyclogher attacker who got the score of the night, adding: "Mark Bradley has been buzzing at training this last while, and we were expecting a big game from him. He covers a lot of ground, he takes people on, he's close to the ground, he's hard to get at, and he's very confident when he gets himself into scoring positions.
"It was a really good finish, and it's nice to score goals at this level, and to get two tonight, we would be very pleased with that."
Tyrone now face Mayo in Castlebar and have Kerry at home on the last day of the league season knowing that one win would probably be enough to survive, while Donegal's task is immeasurably more difficult with Monaghan away before they host Mayo on the final day in Ballybofey.
Scorers - Tyrone: L Brennan (4f) 0-5 N Sludden 1-1, M Bradley 1-1, C McAliskey (3f) 0-3, C McShane, P Harte, N Morgan (f) 0-1 each Donegal: O MacNiallais 1-2, M Murphy (3f) 0-3, E Doherty, EB Gallagher, H McFadden, M McHugh, S McBrearty 0-1 each
Tyrone: N Morgan 7; F Burns 8, P Hampsey 7, C McCarron 7; C Meyler 7, HP McGeary 7, C McShane 7; C Cavanagh 7, P McNulty 6; M Donnelly 6, N Sludden 8, P Harte 6; L Brennan 8, C McAliskey 7, M Bradley 8 Subs: M McKernan 6, for HP McGeary (50), K McGeary 6, for McNulty (57), D Mulgrew for McAliskey (62), D McCurry for Bradley (67), C McCann for McShane (70), R Brennan for Meyler (73) Black card: M Donnelly (75 - no replacement)
Donegal: S Patton 5; C Morrison 6, S McMenamin 7, EB Gallagher 6; T McClenaghan 7, C Ward 6, E Doherty 7; H McFadden 7, O MacNiallais 8; L McLoone 6, R McHugh 6, M McHugh 6; C Thompson 6, M Murphy 6, J Brennan 6 Subs: D O'Baoill 6, for Thompson, M McElhinney 6, for McClenaghan (42), S McBrearty 7, for M McHugh (50), F McGlynn 6, for Ward (57), N O'Donnell for Brennan (63), M Langan for MacNiallais (67)
Ref - D Coldrick (Meath)