HomeFootballTyrone beat Derry on penalties to take Ulster under-20 football crown

Tyrone beat Derry on penalties to take Ulster under-20 football crown


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Ulster U20 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Derry 2-13 Tyrone 3-10

(after extra-time – Tyrone win 3-1 on pens)

Tyrone were crowned Ulster U20 champions for the second time in three years as they edged out Derry in a penalty shoot-out following an extra-time thriller at the Box-It Athletic Grounds.

The sides couldn’t be separated in normal time, finishing level on 1-11 to 2-8, after the scores had been level on nine occasions, and Derry were unable to hold on to a four-point lead as the Red Hands came roaring back with a third goal in extra-time.

And it was goalkeeper Conor McAneney who emerged as the shoot-out her, saving Derry’s first three kicks, before Noah Grimes slotted home the winner.

After a cagey opening, the game was ignited by two goals in the space of a minute. First it was Johnny McGuckian who hit the net, cutting inside to finish clinically after Ruairi Forbes and Danny McDermott had combined well.

But Tyrone responded immediately with a 12th minute strike from Shea O’Hare, finished from close range after Joey Clarke’s shot had been blocked.

Clarke doubled back to deny McGuckin a second goal with a vital block, but the Oak Leafers continued to press strongly, with Forbes and McGuckin heavily involved.

They went two clear through Shea McCann, who steered over a spectacular effort from close to the sideline, but in the 23rd minute, Tyrone grabbed a second goal.

It was the strong running of midfielder O’Neill that created the opening, his tidy pass inside picking out Ruairi McCullagh, who smashed his shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

They should have had another when Conor McAneney’s booming kick-out released Gavin Potter, but Cassidy’s shot missed the target.

Ronan Walls brought Derry level just before the break, sending the sides in deadlocked at 1-6 to 2-3, and after Danny McDermott had shot them back in front, they battled hard to protect the lead with terrific blocks from Conall Heron and Conleth McGrogan.

Tyrone committed more men forward, and scores from Cassidy and Odhran Brolly nudged them back in front, before Eoin McElholm sent them two clear.

Oisin Doherty’s third converted free had the Oaks back in front ten minutes from the end, but as the game opened up and play swung from end to end, McCullagh brought the sides level for the ninth time, and they went to extra-time, tied at 1-11 to 2-8.

Defensive heroics from Rory Small and Conleth McGrogan helped restrict Tyrone to a single point, and Derry gave themselves a massive boost at the end of the first spell of added time with a Ryan McNicholl goal to lead by 2-13 to 2-9 at the turnaround.

But substitute Ruairi McHugh punched home a third Tyrone goal two minutes after the restart to plunge a gripping contest right back into the balance, and a superb equaliser from Conor Owens set up a penalty shoot-out.

TYRONE: C McAneney; J Clarke, B Hughes, Conor Devlin; S O’Hare (1-0), M Rafferty, O Brolly (0-1); R Fox, C O’Neill (0-1); Cormac Devlin, E McElholm (0-3), G Potter; R McCullagh (1-2, 0-1f), R Cassidy (0-3, 1f), C Daly.

Subs: F Nelis for Conor Devlin (21), R McHugh (1-0) for Brolly (42), P McCann for Fox (50), N Grimes for Cassidy (55), C Owens (0-1) for O’Neill (70).

DERRY: C Armstrong; F McEldowney, D McDermott (0-1), R Small; C McGrogan (0-1), P McGurk, R Walls (0-1); R Forbes, C Heron; C Spiers, S McCann (0-2), J McGuckian (1-0); N O’Donnell (0-2), C Chambers, O Doherty (0-4, 3f).

Subs: R McNicholl for McCann (h-t), E Higgins for Spiers (36), R McGill for Chambers (44), D McPeake for Walls (55), T Rogers for Heron (73), F Donnelly for Rafferty (73).

Referee: D Boylan (Monaghan).

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