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Donegal book spot in Ulster decider

Donegal's defence of their Ulster Senior Championship took a massive step in the right direction ...

Donegal book spot in Ulster de...

Donegal book spot in Ulster decider

Donegal's defence of their Ulster Senior Championship took a massive step in the right direction this Saturday evening.

Declan Bonner's side have beaten one of their fiercest rivals; Ulster Championship and All-Ireland contenders, Tyrone.

It was billed by many beforehand as the first big football match of the summer.

Donegal got the memo.

13,579 fans headed to Kingspan Breffni Park where Bonner's side gave a particularly blistering first-half performance.

They lead 1-9 to 0-5 at the break thanks to a Jamie Brennan goal scored after just four minutes and four points from the ever-reliable Captain Michael Murphy.

Three points from Paddy McBrearty in the second half made Tyrone look flatter and flatter and lacking in ideas.

1-16 to 15 points was the final score as the 2012 All-Ireland Champions booked their place in the Ulster Football Final in two weeks time.

They'll meet the winner of Cavan and Armagh in the decider and will head to Clones the favourites.

Speaking afterwards Bonner said it was "a hard-fought victory but with room for improvement heading into an Ulster Final."

He added that they "should have had the game dead and buried but Tyrone are always going to come back at you, they're a quality side, one of the best in the country."

"We'll take all of that into consideration and we'll look for improvement starting this evening."

There could be a further headache for Mickey Harte beyond the defeat.

Donegal corner back Stephen McMenamin pounced on a loose ball in the second half and was engulfed by Tyrone tacklers.

Tiernan McCann came in to claim the ball but video footage showed him appearing to make contact with the defender's face.

No action was taken against McCann but the CCCC have the power to act on an incident if the referee misses it during a game and he could receive a lengthy ban.

Four-time Ulster Championship winner and former All-Star Paddy McBrearty brushed the incident aside when asked about it afterwards claiming he didn't see it.

"It's Ulster Championship…we'll wake up and not mind the bruises tomorrow morning."

It was ten months since Donegal suffered a crushing 2-17 to 1-13 defeat to the Red Hand in Ballybofey.

That's a long winter to wait for revenge.

Declan Bonner and his side will certainly wake up happy tomorrow, optimistically heading into summer.

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Donegal Tyrone Ulster Championship