A CONTEST which ebbed in favour of both counties finally finished level after Lee Brennan’s equaliser earned Tyrone a deserved share of the spoils on a score of 0-14 against Donegal at Omagh last night.
Both counties have high hopes of making progress in this year’s Ulster U-21 championship. This was reflected in a keen contest which saw the teams level on seven occasions, including at the end of normal time, half-time in extra time and right at the finish.
It was Tyrone who made much of the early running. Points from David Mulgrew, Paul Donaghy and Liam Rafferty put them ahead by 0-3 to 0-1 by the end of the first quarter. But Donegal’s wasteful shooting undermined their credentials.
By half-time, though, the trend of the game was clear. Daire O Baoill, Stephen McBrearty, Michael Langan and Adam Neely all fired over points as they led by 0-5 to 0-4.
Tyrone goalkeeper, Benny Gallon, had to be on his toes to deny Jamie Brennan as the second half started in a flourish that was to be maintained from then on.
The Red Hands then grabbed the initiative with a series of well-taken scores. Conan McLernon, David Mulgrew (2) and Fergal Meenagh all hit the target to leave them 0-9 to 0-7 and well poised entering the final quarter.
Another fine save from Benny Gallon prevented Michael Carroll from getting what would have been a crucial goal for Donegal. By now, however, it was clear that this tie was destined for the closest of finishes.
Johnny Harkin and Lee Brennan added scores, as Tyrone were denied right at the end of normal time when Fergal Meenagh’s shot at goal was saved and then cleared off the line by Donegal senior player, Eoghan Ban Gallagher.
It was score for score in extra time, before Lee Brennan’s late free set up the replay at Ballybofey next Wednesday night.