Despite the suffocating pressure imposed by Donegal’s mass defensive ranks, Tyrone actually managed to carve out three tangible goal-scoring opportunities over the 70 minutes of their Ulster Championship semi-final but were unable to convert any of them.
Mattie Donnelly admitted that in such a high-octane, intense clash, small margins can make all the difference.
“ You need a bit of luck to win games especially against the top teams. We had those couple of chances towards the end, obviously Marty’s [Penrose] shot being the main one, but it wasn’t to be.
“ We’re in the Qualifiers now so there’s no point being downbeat about it. We’ve only two weeks to get ready so we can’t linger on the Donegal defeat for too long. We have to pick it up again for Saturday week and get back into training because we still have a lot to play for.”
The 22-year old was optimistic about Tyrone’s prospects looking ahead to future challenges but didn’t mask the fact that it was painful to miss out on another Ulster Final appearance at Clones.
“ There’s no point dwelling on it too long apart form trying to learn from the mistakes we made. Donegal are the Ulster champions and showed it in the second half.
“ I suppose it was an encouraging performance from ourselves in patches but there is no point fooling ourselves, we went into the match looking to win and get to the Ulster Final. That wasn’t the case which is naturally disappointing.”