The Athletic Grounds in Armagh will be the venue for Sunday’s EirGrid Ulster Under 20 Football Championship Final as holders Derry clash with Tyrone for the Corn Dónall Ó Murchú.
It’s probably no great surprise that Derry have made it this far given that they have a significant number of their 2018 winning team to call upon.
Managed by Mickey Donnelly, and captained by Newbridge’s Padraig McGrogan the Oak Leaf County have been well tested in their two games to date.
They trailed Armagh 2-10 to 0-6 early in the second half in their quarter-final encounter before mounting an impressive comeback to emerge 5-11 to 2-13 winners. That victory came at a cost as they lost influential attackers Ben McCarron and Oisin McWillams to injury and it will be a race against time for them to make Sunday’s game.
The Derry men were pushed all the way by Fermanagh in their semi-final but a goal early in the second half from exciting wing back Declan Cassidy opened up a lead they would never surrender thereafter.
Tyrone meanwhile were pushed all the way by Down in their quarter-final. Having opened up a 2-6 to 0-2 lead at half time the Red Hands struggled for large portions of the second half before holding on for a two point victory.
The semi-final victory over Cavan saw the Red Hands lead throughout without ever hitting top gear. The Red Hands bench contributed handsomely to that victory and could well be called upon again to assist on Sunday.
Tyrone will look to Antoin Fox and Conor Quinn to guide their defence, while up front Darragh Canavan and Sean Óg McAleer have done the bulk of the Red Hand scoring. Conor McCluskey and Declan Cassidy have been excellent in defence for Derry and up front Paul Cassidy has shown himself to be a classy operator in their two games to date.
There is little to choose between the sides but Derry’s greater experience from last year’s triumph may just see them crowned EirGrid Ulster Under 20 Champions.