Tyrone survived a second half Down fightback to emerge victors in the the EirGrid Ulster Under 20 Championship semi-final – 2-11 to 1-12.
It really was a game of two halves as the Red Hands dominated the opening 30 minutes to lead 2-6 to 0-2 at the break, before enduring an uncomfortable last five minutes as Down closed to within a point.
The Red Hands made the best possible start as Darragh Canavan hit the net after seven minutes for the opening score of the game.
Tiarnan Quinn then pointed for Tyrone before Conor Clarke opened Down’s account. Quinn and Sean Óg McAleer would help Tyrone into a 1-5 to 0-1 lead after 25 minutes before Seamus Loughran got Down’s second point.
The lively Mark McKearney then found the net for Tyrone to help them into a ten point half-time lead.
Down, however showed early in the second half that they hadn’t thrown in the towel. Conor Clarke, Declan McClements, Seamus Loughran and then two points from Liam Kerr closed the gap to five points, 10 minutes into the second half.
Tiarnan Quinn kicked his fifth point to settle Tyrone as the sides went point for point for most of the second half, Darragh Canavan and Michael Conroy on target for Tyrone, Liam Kerr and John McGeough scoring for Down.
Ryan McEvoy closed the gap to four points before a Conor Clarke goal cut the Tyrone lead to just a point entering six minutes of injury time.
Tyrone needed a late Ruairi Gormley point to steady the Red Hand ship and help them into a last four meeting with Cavan.