Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Final: Armagh v Derry – Match Preview, Team Lineouts, Pivotal Players

May 26th, 2024


Armagh v Derry

O’Neill’s Healy Park Omagh, 1pm (Live on TG4)

Referee: Barry McMenamin (An Cabhán)

There is a stark contrast in the track record of both these counties at this level over the past decade.

Derry are competing in their eighth final in 10 years, while Armagh are in the decider for the first time since 2014.

Derry’s senior footballers may have fallen at the first hurdle in their bid to retain their Ulster crown, but the county’s minors are out today hoping to achieve back-to-back provincial glory.

Ten of last year’s All-Ireland winning squad are back this season, and they got their year off to the right start by capturing the Minor League trophy.

Their Championship campaign brought wins over Cavan, Armagh and Antrim to secure top spot in Group B and passage into last weekend’s Semi Final, where they overcame Tyrone by seven points at Owenbeg.

After a tentative first half, a blistering opening 10 minutes following restart propelled the young Oakleafers to victory over their neighbouring rivals. The half forward trio of Eamon Young, Ger Dillon and Caoimhin Hargan were particularly devastating, accounting for 2-09 of their 2-14 total, while corner forward Dylan Rocks also chipped in with a goal and two points.

That aforementioned group stage win over today’s opponents Armagh was expected to be a close contest, however Damien McErlain’s side romped to a 2-18 to 0-7 win to ensure their qualification to the final four. The game was notable for a stunning individual goal from Eamon Young, searing down 70 yards of the field and cooly finishing to the net.

That result aside, Armagh have been impressive throughout the competition, scoring two goals in both of their group wins over Cavan and Antrim before comfortably defeating Monaghan at home in the Quarter Final.

They were much the better side as they put the Farney County to the sword at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds, with a goal from full forward Eoin Duffy, who finished with 1-4 on the day, the key score for the Orchard County.

Last Saturday they travelled to Ballyshannon and beat Donegal by 2-08 to 1-07 to take their place in today’s decider. Aidan O’Rourke’s young side flew out of the traps, recording the first six points of the encounter.

Second-half goals came from Jack Loughran and James McCooe stretched their lead but they had to withstand a Donegal fightback to seal the win.

The side is backboned by the U16 Buncrana Cup winning team from last season. The Ulster U16 Club winning Dromintee side are also heavily represented, with eight players on the panel and manager O’Rourke at the helm.


  1. Michael Finnegan
  2. Tomás Fox
  3. Gavin O’Rourke
  4. Conall Wilson
  5. Fergus Toale
  6. Sean Woods
  7. Diarmaid O’Rourke
  8. Jack Loughran
  9. Daithi O’Callaghan
  10. Aaron Garvey
  11. James McCooe
  12. Keelan McEntee
  13. Fionn Toale
  14. Eoin Duffy
  15. Shea Loughran
  16. James McBennett
  17. Lewis Bellew
  18. Paidi Comiskey
  19. Oisín Gribben
  20. Danny McGee
  21. Aodhan McGrane
  22. Michael Walker
  23. Conor Dunne
  24. Ross Marsden


  1. Jack McCloy
  2. Caomhan McNally
  3. Ronan Canavan
  4. Rian Collins
  5. Luke Grant
  6. Cathal Ó Mianáin
  7. Dara McGuckin
  8. James Sargent
  9. Cathair McBride
  10. Eamon Young
  11. Ger Dillon
  12. Caoimhín Hargan
  13. Chris McCullagh
  14. Ruairi Biggs
  15. Dylan Rocks
  16. Michael Conlon
  17. Pádraig Haran
  18. Niall Mackle
  19. Turlough McHugh
  20. Gabhan McIvor
  21. Dara McKenna
  22. Kevin Barry Mullan
  23. Padraig O’Kane
  24. Cody Rocks

Pivotal players

Armagh – Eoin Duffy

Armagh qualified for the semi-finals with a ten-point victory over Monaghan, and full forward Duffy was the star man for the home side with a personal haul of 1-04.

It was his first half major, set up by Keelan McEntee, that gave Armagh some breathing space early on and they pushed on after that to dominate.

The Culloville forward previously landed 0-04 in a 2-11 to 1-09 win over Cavan that was vital to ultimately securing that home quarter final place against the Farney side.

Against Donegal last Saturday he turned provider for Armagh’s opening goal, laying the ball on for James McCooe to palm to the net. A mobile and athletic player, Derry will need to keep close tabs on him to curb his influence in the final third.


Derry – Ger Dillon

Ballinascreen youngster Dillon is one of ten survivors from last year’s Ulster and All-Ireland winning squad, and 12 months on he continues to occupy the centre-forward berth and carries much of the same scoring responsibility.

Every good team needs an assured free taker in their ranks, and Dillon is that. His six points helped Derry to glory in last year’s Tom Markham Cup decider, and he has again been steady and reliable from placed ball this season with the Oakleaf side storming their way back into another provincial finale.

His partnership with the dynamic Eamon Young in the half forward line is often central to Derry’s attacking prowess which is characterised by speed and incision. Armagh face a tough task this afternoon restricting the duo’s impact.

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