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Donegal 2-17 Tyrone 2-13 — talking points

Donegal came out on top against Tyrone but Mickey Harte will be hugely encouraged by the debut performance of former AFL star Conor McKenna

Conor McKenna and Ryan McHugh

Donegal came out on top against Tyrone but Mickey Harte will be hugely encouraged by the debut performance of former AFL star Conor McKenna.

Donegal came out on top against Tyrone but Mickey Harte will be hugely encouraged by the debut performance of former AFL star Conor McKenna.

The Eglish man scored a consolation goal for the visitors late on when his side were down to 13 men, and it capped off a fine performance in his competitive return.

Donegal came away with the two points from this league clash, but it will have little bearing on what happens when they meet in the Ulster SFC next month.

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Peadar Mogan and Jamie Brennan scored the goals for the hosts as they racked up a third win of the campaign.

McKENNA IMPACT
The drive and power of McKenna on his return to Gaelic games was immediately obvious.

The manner in which he bounced off Michael Murphy, and came off the better, was a rare sight and it should put every team on notice of the calibre of specimen they’re dealing with.

Mickey Harte explained on TG4 beforehand that the number 11 has “fitted back in seamlessly… he never lost touch with Tyrone.

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“When he was away, his heart was always in Tyrone and in Gaelic football.”

McKenna won a penalty in the 14th minute after a rather innocuous tackle by Stephen McMenamin, but perhaps was unlucky not to have another in the second half when bundled over by Neil McGee.

His power on the ball, his speed on the turn, the knowledge that he can only improve, it all amount to a huge boost to Tyrone.

Considering the blow it was losing Cathal McShane to injury for the season, Tyrone have at least found another man who can be a game-changer during the coming championship.

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The pity for Harte and Red Hand fans is that they won’t see them together until next year at least.

His goal at the end suggested that the void left by McShane could be directly filled closer to goal, though you suspect he will move in and out.

MORGAN NOT STANDING BACK
Just recently, goalkeeper Niall Morgan had asked if the championships should go ahead at all.

The Tyrone netminder has apparently decided to play and he produced an excellent moment towards the latter end of the first half.

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As Donegal countered, a ball was sent upfield to an inside forward, but Morgan got out in front more than 30 yards from his own goal.

In an age when inside defenders are so often isolated one-on-one, a proactive keeper can be the difference between a tight defence and an open back door.

SAD NEWS
The passing of Johnny Curran was touched on in Mickey Harte’s pre-match interview on TG4, and our condolences go to his family and friends.

He was on the Red Hand County senior panel that won the Sam Maguire Cup in 2008.

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