Donegal scored a breathtaking last-minute goal to ensure the crown of current Lory Meagher Cup holders would move from the Longford squad of 2010 to the team from the northwest.
Ciaran Mathewson was the hero of the day when he struck his second goal right at the death to spoil the Tyrone party, when it was beginning to look like their narrow two point lead was going to bring them over the line at Croke Park.
Tyrone got off the ground running early on in the match. Their tight defence were managing to handle whatever Donegal could throw at them and key players such as Rory O’Neill and Aidan Kelly were kicking over valuable points.
Donegal’s star man, the brilliant Mathewson, gave his team a lifeline when he struck an unstoppable shot into the Tyrone net approaching twenty minutes. He then knocked over a couple of points before a Niall Campbell free in levelled the game on 33 minutes.
Campbell, who had been so impressive in their semi-final victory scoring eleven points, successfully added two more points to his tally to carve out a two point advantage for his team going in at the break, Donegal 1-07 0-8 Tyrone.
Tyrone came out strongly at the start of the second half, chalking up a couple of decent scores of their own. They exerted their dominance around the middle of the field and through Kelly and Grogan notching up six points between them Tyrone led by two with the end of the match nearing.
Enda McDermott sent in a long delivery to the Tyrone penalty area as time was running out. Mathewson received the sliothar, carried for a few yeards to create some space, and smashed the ball past Devlin in the Tyrone goal to spark great celebrations amongst the Donegal squad and fans.
Andrew Wallace’s side will now be promoted to the Nicky Raynard Cup competition for 2012.
P O’Brien, S O’Connor, C Breathnach, A McDermott, J Donnelly, C Dowds, J Boyle, S McVeigh, P Sheridan, E Organ, S Boyle, C Mathewson, M McCann, E McDermott, N Campbell.
Subs used: P Hannigan, L Henderson, M McGhee
J Devlin, Ryan O’Neill, D Maguire, R Winters, SP Begley, S Donnelly, M Grogan, C Gallagher, M O’Gorman, G Fox, J Kelly, A Kelly, C McErlean, Rory O’Neill, C Grogan.
Subs used: P O’Connor, T Hughes, M Winters
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