U17s make history

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

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Dominant Tyrone created history by winning the first ever All-Ireland U17 Football Championship title with a resounding victory over Roscommon at Croke Park.


And the son of another All-Ireland hero turned on the magic with a virtuoso display. Darragh Canavan retraced the footsteps of dad Peter with a 1-3 haul, including a brilliant second half goal.

Roscommon trailed by eight points at one stage of the opening half, but a courageous comeback saw them trim it back to four, before a stoppage time Mark Hayes goal sealed the Red Hand win.

Tyrone manager Collie Holmes hailed the talent of exciting youngster Canavan, whose spectacular goal will live long in the memory.

"A wonderful goal from a wonderful player," said Holmes.

"We have lots of lads who are talented, but in Darragh we have something that's' truly special.

"He really turned up today and led the line. He scored out first point, and threatened all day long.

"He has a great awareness of when to run and when to give and when to release. He's a really exciting potential for Tyrone for the future." Treble All-Ireland winner Holmes had encouraged his players to enjoy the occasion and revel in the unique atmosphere that Croke Park provides.

"Any time you come to Croke Park is a special time when you're in the seats. It's more special to play, and when you win, that experience is priceless.

"The coaches were telling the boys that this was going to be an experience, and it's really up to them to make it into whatever type of experience it is, a positive one or a negative one.

"Today, particularly in the first half, they turned up. I think we kicked seven or eight scores and ultimately that was the difference.

"Roscommon came back second half and basically did to us what we had done to them in the first half, and if we hadn't turned up a bit earlier, we were in a real game "They came back to three or four, and the crowd got a wee bit loud, so we just wanted to keep the Roscommon crowd quiet.

"Anything beyond a four points lead, you're starting to get nervous, but with Munroe in the back line, McCusker in the back line, they have been brilliant all year, and they turned up again today for us."

Roscommon danger men Peter Gillooly and Paul Carey were held in check, but the threat came from other quarters, with Shane Cunnane hitting five points.

"Maybe that's why we stepped off other players who stood up and kicked points," Holmes admitted.

"I suppose we can take the hit for that one, but through the Connacht and All-Ireland series, those two boys have been racking up 75 per cent of the scores.

"Teams have forwards like that, so we had to plan around them, but again I do think we stepped off a wee bit short on the rest of the lads. Big Cunnane at midfield ended up kicking a few monster scores, and that's why the gap was closed to four at one stage."

Peter Gillooly edged the Connacht lad ahead, but Tyrone were soon on the attack and were denied a goal when Thomas Hoy sent Ethan Jordan in, but 'keeper Michael O'Donnell pulled off a fine save.

Canavan drifted deep to pick up possession and run at the Rossies defence, and he brought his side level with a wonderful solo effort four minutes in.

Ciaran Sugrue regained the lead for the Connacht champions, but another Canavan speclal instantly cancelled that score out.

Roscommon were getting on top in terms of possession, but solid pressure from the Tyrone defence forced them to shoot from difficult positions, and a number of efforts drifted wide.

The Ulster champions countered to create another goal chance, thanks to a monster kick-out from Lorcan Quinn, but Cormac Donaghy's shot lacked conviction, and was easily dealt with by O'Donnell.

Daniel Miller and Thomas Hoy won the frees that Ethan Jordan converted as the Red Hands hit the front, and with Matthew Murnaghan and Joe Oguz getting on tip at midfield, they took control of the contest.

Canavan sprayed the passes, and the clinical finishing came from Oguz, Donaghy, Jordan and Miller as they eased into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead by the end of the opening quarter.

Daniel Miller chipped in with a couple of neat points, and wing back Tarlach Quinn darted through the middle to stretch the lead to eight points.

And at the back, they continued to operate as a well organised unit with skipper Cormac Munroe directing operations, and Antoin Fox, Matthew McCusker and Quinn all putting in telling challenges.

Roscommon went 14 minutes without a sore, before Shane Cunnane slotted over a point, and while the midfielder added a couple more from frees, there was never any indication that they would trouble Tyrone.

Another attacking flourish produced scores from Donaghy, Canavan and Jordan as they reached the break leading by 0-13 to 0-5.

But they allowed the tempo to wane in the early stages of the second half, with the excellent Cunnane narrowing the gap with his fourth score, And they continued to press, with Gillooly and Cunnane adding further scores as the Tyrone defence came under increasing pressure.

Almost 14 minutes had elapsed before the Ulster champions registered their first score of the second half, a Jordan free, after the hard-working Miller had been fouled.

Substitute Michael Conroy had a goal disallowed, but the signs were encouraging, after the Red Hand had hit a series of wides.

However, Roscommon were growing in confidence, and with Oisin Lennon and Cunnane driving their challenge, they edged to within four points, with Peter Gillooly sending over a couple of neat scores.

The Red Hands needed something special to re-ignite their challenge for this All-Ireland title, and predictably, it came from the mercurial Canavan. Miller and Conroy combined, and when the ball was switched to Canavan, he rifled an unstoppable shot to the top corner of the net.

Roscommon responded with a couple of scores from impressive substitute Darragh Walsh and points from Paul Carey and John Martin, but Tyrone were in control, and two Conroy scores were followed by a second goal in stoppage time.

It was Ryan McCabe who made ground down the right, crossing for Mark Hayes to pick his spot.

Tyrone - Lorcan Quinn; Antoin Fox, Matthew McCusker, Conor Ward; Ruairi Slane, Cormac Munroe, Tarlach Quinn (0-1), Matthew Murnaghan, Joe Oguz (0-1); Cormac Donaghy (0-2), Darragh Canavan (1-3), Daniel Miller (0-3); Ethan Jordan (0-5), Cormac Donnelly, Thomas Hoy.

Subs - Mark Hayes (1-0) for Hoy, Oisin McHugh (0-1) for Slane, Martin Conroy (0-2) for Donnelly, Ryan McCabe for Jordan, Liam Gray for Donaghy.


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