U20s lose out in extra time thriller

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Armagh 2-22 Tyrone 0-24

After Extra Time

TYRONE suffered the agony of defeat at the end of an epic Ulster U20 Football Championship semi-final that needed two periods of extra-time before a winner emerged.
A crowd of more than 2,000 at the Athletic Grounds was kept enthralled for more than 115 minutes of compelling action and incredible commitment from both sides.
At a couple of stages, it looked as if the Red Hands had done enough to get themselves through to the decider, but the Orchard lads just refused to go away, and kept coming back.
In the end, the home side had just that little bit more in the legs as they shaded an unforgettable contest that, despite a melee in the closing stages, was a brilliant advertisement for this new grade.
“We had a few knocks, and they were testing in the end. It was a mighty game, point for point, and unfortunately we came out on the wrong side," said Tyrone manager Paul Devlin.
“We had it, but they got a goal. The lineswoman was trying to signal to the referee that it was a Tyrone free, but the mic wouldn't work, and fair play to Armagh, they got the score from it. These small margins happen in games like that."
Devlin paid tribute to the exceptional effort his players put in from start to finish of an enthralling contest
“You can't fault anyone, that's what gaelic football is about. Both teams went out and they played their hearts out.
“It got away from us near the end, and a few scores that Armagh kicked went over, and on another night they might not have gone over."
And there's no second chance. Unlike Minor and Senior football, this is straight knock-out, and defeat means the end of the road.
“As soon as you lose, you're gone. It's the old school way, but full credit to Armagh, they won the game of football and you have to credit them, and you move on.
“The lads now go back to their clubs, and hopefully a fair few of these lads will get an opportunity to step up to senior level. But nothing will be given to you, you have to work hard for it."
Tyrone, playing into the light breeze, pressed strongly from the start, and a timely interception by Ryan Owens robbed them of a goal chance.
They went ahead in the fourth minute, their patient build-up setting Paul Donaghy in for a point, and James Garrity's quickly taken free sent Donaghy through for a brilliant second on seven minutes.
Armagh registered their first score in the ninth minute when Rian O'Neill landed a brilliant long range effort, and they went level a minute later, O'Neill and Eoghan McDonnell combining to set up the chance for Conor Turbit.
Brian Kennedy's fielding kept the visitors on the front foot, and another brilliant Donaghy score, this time off his left foot, edged the Red Hands ahead again.
But Armagh, with Rian O'Neill getting into the game around midfield, started to enjoy territorial possession, and it was O'Neill who brought them level from a free.
And they had a goal chance when Ross McQuillan broke through, but he fired his shot wide.
Conor Shields and Cahir Goodwin stood firm at the back, and helped their side weather the storm, before going back on the attack to shoot four points on the spin.
Emmet McNabb converted a '45 and a 40 metre free, while Donaghy added to his tally from a placed ball, and skipper Shields got on the end of a breakaway move to slot over a score for a four points lead.
But back came the Orchard lads, with centre back Conor O'Neill driving forward at every opportunity, and after Conor Turbit had hit the target, they stunned the Red Hands with a goal, Cathair McGeary and Conor O'Neill combining to send Eoghan McDonnell in to smash the ball to the net.
McQuillan used his pace to create another goal chance for himself, but Benny Gallen responded with a brilliant save.
And deep into stoppage time, Ruairi Gormely sent over a fine score to send Tyrone in with a 0-8 to 1-4 advantage.
Armagh created two more goal chances in the early stages of the second half, the best of them falling to McDonnell straight from the throw-in, but he rifled his shot wide.
Soon afterwards, Jason Duffy got a shot away that was kept out by Gallen, but Duffy did get a point to level the scores again.
McNabb was striking majestically from dead balls, off the grass, and he curled another beauty between the posts, but again the Orchard side rallied, and scores from Ross McQuillan, a delightful solo effort, Conor O'Neill and Rian O'Neill had them two ahead midway through the half.
Donaghy split the posts again, and Tiarnan Drayne came off the bench to land a tidy score, but Turbit responded with a free, and it was another sub, Peter Og McCartan, who brought the sides level for the eighth time.
Armagh's Kevin McAlinden was denied by a superb block from McNabb, who worked tirelessly up and down the field, but Rian O'Neill converted the resultant '45, and Tyrone needed another mighty score from Donaghy, arrowed between the posts from close to the sideline deep into stoppage time, to tie it up at 1-11 to 0-14 and send a gripping contest to extra-time.
Inside the very first minute, Tyrone suffered a serious setback when Barry McCambridge made ground down the right wing and crossed for Jason Duffy to palm home a goal.
But they fought back with scores from Tomas Carney, who struck some superb points from frees, McNabb and Kennedy, and were level midway through at 2-13 to 0-19.
The Red Hands looked like they had got themselves back on track when Tom Loughran and Drayne banged over scores, but Armagh were not done yet, and they had closed the gap to a point when an ugly row broke out, which saw two players from each side red-carded - Armagh's Ryan Owens and Eoghan McDonnell, along with Tyrone pair Tiarnan Drayne and Jude Campbell.
This time it was Armagh who equalised, through sub Justin Kearns, and they were deadlocked at 2-16 to 0-22, and heading into two additional spells of five minutes each.
Conor Magennis and Ryan Garvey were on target as both sides ran their benches to refresh and replace tired legs, and the home side held a narrow lead at the turnaround.
And they had the legs, and scores from Conor Maginness, Rian O'Neill and Kevin McAlinden saw them through to the decider.
Teams and scorers:
Armagh - Eoghan Mulholland; James McAlinden, Barry McCambridge, Declan Loye; Conor McGeary, Conor O'Neill (0-2), Ryan Owens (0-1); Eoghan McDonnell (1-0), Rian O'Neill (0-7); Ross McQuillan (0-2), Callum O'Neill, Conor Turbit (0-4); R Magennis, Jason Duffy (1-1), D Luckie.
Subs - Justin Kearns (0-1) for McGeary, Kevin McAlinden (0-2) for Callum O'Neill, Conor Magennis (0-1) for R Magennis, Sean McCarthy for McCambridge, Ryan Garvey (0-1) for McAlinden, McGeary, Garvey.
Tyrone - Benny Gallen; Conal Grimes, Connor Quinn, Ciaran Shields (0-1); Mark McKearney, Ryan McCusker, Cahir Goodwin; Ruairi Gormley (0-1), Brian Kennedy (0-1); Matthew Murnaghan, Emmet McNabb (0-6), Ryan Gray; James Garrity, Matthew McGleenan, Paul Donaghy (0-7).
Subs - Peter Og McCartan (0-1) for McKearney, Tiarnan Drayne (0-2) for Murnaghan, Daniel Kerr for Gray, Tom Carney (0-4) for McGleenan, Tom Loughran (0-1) for Gormley, Dalaigh Jones for Goodwin, McGleenan for Kennedy, Jude Campbell for Garrity, Kennedy, McKearney, Murnaghan for Kennedy, Peadar Mullan for Grimes.
Referee - Niall McKenna (Monaghan).


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