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In The Irish News on May 11 1997: Derry outclass dismal Meath to claim All-Ireland Under 21 honours

DETERMINED...Derry’s Joe Cassidy powers his way past Meath’s Stephen O’Rourke in the All-Ireland U21 final at Clones yesterday

DERRY claimed only their second All-Ireland U21 football title by outclassing dismal Meath, 1-12 to 0-5, in yesterday's decider at Clones.

The Ulster champions, even though they only really opened up after half-time, were yards ahead of Meath throughout.

The sheer ineptitude of the Meath effort was quite staggering; particularly as the Royals included four members of the senior squad which defeated Mayo at Croke Park last September.

In the first half Derry, even though they went in 0-5 to 0-1 ahead, appeared a little tentative, as if they were expecting Meath to really put it up to them.

But the Meath burst never materialised and Derry finally began to realise after half-time that the game was going to be theirs at a canter.

Forwards Joe Cassidy, Benny Murray and Adrian McGuckin shone, especially in the second half.

Throughout the hour, the defence as a unit optimised solidity with the performances of corner backs Sean Donnelly and Micheal Kelly standing out.

The key to the first half which set the foundation for Derry's win was the ball-winning efforts of targetman Cassidy and his fellow full-forward Michael Gribbin.

Both Cassidy and Gribbin were constantly out in front of their markers when the ball was delivered quickly from deep into the corners.

The final quarter saw the superb Cassidy help himself to three glorious points from play. Murray, who was described afterwards by Derry captain Johnny McBride as the best player on the pitch, seemed to have had the final say when he slammed over a powering point with two minutes left.

But instead the honour of the final act fell to Adrian McGuckin who soccer-style rounded the Meath keeper and slammed the ball into the empty net in injury time.

Derry: S O'Kane, S Donnelly, D O'Neill, M Kelly, P McFlynn, S Lockhart, E McGilloway, E Muldoon (0-1), G Doyle, B Murray (0-3), J McBride, S McGuckin (0-1), J Cassidy (0-5), A McGuckin (1-0), M Gribbin (0-2).

Meath: C O'Sullivan, S Carolan, D Fay, A Meade, N Kearney, M O'Reilly, P Reynolds, S O'Rourke, J Cullinane, B Smyth (0-2), S Dillon, K Dowd, R McGee (0-2), B Callaghan, R Farrelly (0-1).

Subs: C McGrath for Carolan (27 mins), F Owens for O'Rourke (58 mins), E Grogan for Dowd (44 mins). Ref: M Curley (Galway)

PLAYED in difficult weather and underfoot conditions, this Dalton Cup semi-final went St Colman's way on a final score of 2-12 to 1-5 against St Patrick's, Maghera.

Colm Farrell slotted home a penalty, while Eoin McCartan, a brother of Down star James, fired home the other goal.

The scores gave the Newry side the leverage to secure a place in the final next Saturday – St Colman's first final appearance this season.

During the second half, St Colman's exerted most of the pressure and captain Ronan McMahon, Gary Byrne and Colin Keenan took some lovely points. St Patrick's looked dangerous on the break with two very capable players, midfielder Laurence Diamond and corner forward Fergal McGuigan.

Their only second half scores were a Patsy Bradley point and a last minute penalty goal from their captain Philip Mooney.

St Colman's will play the winners of St Patrick's Armagh v Omagh CBS on Saturday next.

St Colman's scorers: C Farrell (1-3), E McCartan (1-1), G Byrne (0-3), R McMahon (0- 2), C Keenan (0-2), A Grant (0- 1).

St Patrick's scorers: P Mooney (1-0), L Diamond (0- 2), F McGuigan (0-1), P Young (0-1) P Bradley (0-1).

ARMAGH reserved their best hurling for the last 10 minutes of this close encounter at Clann Eireann Park Lurgan yesterday, grabbing a late 2-11 to 2-10 victory and easing their NHL Division relegation concerns.

Despite helping themselves to a two-goal start, the home side were out-manoeuvred for long periods, Louth the more methodical and assertive outfit.

Armagh's most outstanding player, corner-back KP Mone, sprang to their aid in a hectic finish steering over two long distance frees which turned again in their favour.

Louth, who shot 13 wides to their opponents nine, deservedly led 1-7 to 2-3 at the break, Tony Corcoran's 18th minute goal rounding off a fine piece of individuality.

Later in the game three inspiring points from KP Mone (2) and Paul Lappin within as many minutes had them level, 2-10 apiece.

Earnestness and determination were now the key words as Armagh latched on to the renewed spirit which was ultimately rewarded in the form of Vincey Mone's winner from a close in free with only minutes remaining.

Armagh: M Murphy, J Mone, S Hughes, KP Mone (0-3), P Sheridan, A Taylor, T Moore, F Fullerton (0-1), V Mone (0-5), G McCann (0-1), P Lappin (0-1), S McConnell, M Grimes, L Reynolds (1-0), N McCann (1-0).

Subs: P Lavery for G McCann, S Haughey for Lappin (injured).

Louth: P Mulholland, D Black, P Dunne, E Quigley, J Jennings, A Hoey, C Summers, E Downey, J Tempo, T Cochrane (1-3), D Dunne (0-1), D Callan, O Kelly (0-3), G Collins (1-1), J Murphy (0-3).

Sub: D Stone for O Kelly.

Ref: T McIntyre (Antrim)

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