Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

EirGrid U20 Semi Finals: Narrow wins for Derry and Tyrone wins to set up Final showdown

April 25th, 2024

EirGrid Ulster Under 20 Football Championship Semi-Finals

Tyrone 2-9 Monaghan 0-14

Derry 1-12 Donegal 0-14

Tyrone and Derry will meet in the Eirgrid Ulster U20 Football Championship final at the Box-It Athletic Grounds next Wednesday, after both came through tense semi-finals with just a point to spare.

Tyrone held off Monaghan to win by 2-9 to 0-14 at O’Neills Healy Park, while Derry came from behind to deny Donegal by 1-12 to 0-14 at Ballybofey.

Tyrone struck for a goal after just four minutes, Michael Rafferty sending Cormac Devlin in to finish to the bottom corner of the net.

But the Farney, with their defence settling to the task, built patiently from the back, and Stephen Mooney’s accuracy had them back in contention.

He converted a couple of frees and a mark, and it was wing back Oisin McGorman who brough them level in the 27th minute, after Tyrone’s Ruairi McCullagh and Rinan Cassidy had traded scores with Kian Duffy and Mooney.

Eoin McElholm nudged Tyrone into a narrow 1-5 to 0-7 interval lead, and they struck for a second goal five minutes after the restart, midfielder Ronan Fox blasting to the net.

McCullagh and McElholm tagged on scores for a five points lead going into the final 10 minutes

Monaghan persisted with their counter-attacking approach, and pulled back scores through Mooney and Dara McKenna, before midfielder Fionan Carolan narrowed the gap to a single point.

At Ballybofey, Ryan McNicholl was Derry’s hero, firing over the winning point with the very last kick of the game.

Donegal opened out a three points lead early on through Luke McGlynn, Conor Reid and Conor McGinty.

The Oak Leafers worked hard against a well organised defence to narrow the gap with points form Patrick McGurk and Ruairi Forbes, but the home side carried a greater scoring threat, with Sean Martin pushing them into a four points lead.

Karl Joseph Molloy was also on target as they pressed in numbers, but an Eoin Higgins free narrowed the gap to three, Donegal ahead by 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval.

Oisin Doherty grabbed the game’s only goal two minutes after the restart to nudge the Oak Leafers ahead, and while Donegal tagged on scores through Senan Carr, Cian McMenamin and Karl McGee, Derry were able to protect their lead with points from Doherty, Conal Heron and Ciaran Chambers.

Kevin Lynch brought the home side level late on, but in the third minute of stoppage time, McNicholl swept over the winner to send Derry through to the decider.

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