Ruairi Canavan proved to be the difference between the sides as Tyrone downed Donegal by a point in the Minor Championship in MacCumhaill Park on Sunday.
Collie Holmes’s team only had three weeks of collective training to get ready for the match and they found themselves in a tough attritional battle where every ball was fought for.
Donegal – under the guidance of Luke Barrett – led by two points at the start of the second half.
However, Tyrone came back and Canavan sprinkled his gold dust on the match to put his side in charge heading down the home straight.
Donegal reduced their deficit to one at the death but Tyrone held on to book a semi-final spot in the Ulster Minor Championship.
It has been a long year for both teams. They were initially due to play Championship football in April, and there was supposed to be a back door system if things didn’t go to plan the first day out.
However, the format was changed to straight knock-out due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the match was moved to October.
It was then pushed back again until December and that meant that both teams only had a few weeks to prepare for the encounter.
However, it was still expected to be a tight game, and there were only two points between the sides in the league when they met earlier in the campaign with Tyrone coming out on top.
The visitors showed their intentions right from the throw-in with Oran McGrath getting on the end of a slick move to point after 13 seconds.
Ruairi Canavan – son of Peter – added a free after Conor McGillion was pulled back.
Tyrone brought huge intensity to the first five minutes and it took Donegal some time to settle.
Eoin O’Donnell did launch over a huge score and they then started to get to grips with matters in defence.
Donegal did force a good turnover in the 11th minute but Tyrone were able to win possession back and McGillion fired over despite slipping.
FULL STORY IN TODAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE