Derry and Monaghan into Ulster U20 Football Championship semi-finals

The Oak Leafers will face Donegal, while the Farney lads will take on Tyrone

Armagh v Monaghan U20s
Monaghan were five-point winners over Armagh at The BOX-IT Athletic Grounds. Picture: Finbar Burns

EirGrid Ulster U20 Football Championship quarter-finals

Derry 1-11 Cavan 0-7

DERRY booked their place in the last four with victory over Cavan on Wednesday night in Owenbeg.

It was a game built on five unanswered first-half points, with Oisin Doherty’s 42nd-minute goal putting the home team in control.

Cavan had Favour Shehu black-carded in the second half as Derry turned the screw.

Darragh Lovett was Cavan’s star man coming into the game but James Murray followed him everywhere. With his space limited Cavan struggled to make any inroads.

Cavan were against the wind and hit the first two points of the game from Cian Keaney and Barry Donnelly.

While Derry were defending with everybody behind the ball on Cavan attacks, the Breffni man kept Lovett up and it sucked an extra defender back but they didn’t have the same precision on their breakaways.

Cavan weren’t able to push ahead and soon a more controlled home side were level with Oisin Doherty hitting two points, the second after an overlapping Conleth McGrogan run.

Ruairi Forbes added a fine score before Niall O’Donnell kicked two points for a 0-7 to 0-4 lead with their heat on Cavan’s kick-outs a factor.

Johnny McGuckian put Ryan McNicholl in for a late goal chance he pulled wide but it was Derry who led by four, 0-8 to 0-4, at the break.

McNicholl had a second goal-chance hacked off the line by Jensen Tynan early in the second half, with Daire Madden kicking a Cavan score at the end of a counter-attack.

Both teams then looked to their bench and it was Ciaran Chambers who hit the crossbar with a goal chance before Doherty finished his second of the season from close range.

Cavan did win their share of kick-outs with Ryan Tobin, Eoghan Hartin and substitute James Tully but Derry’s defensive unit closed them out.

With Cavan sitting off Derry’s kick-outs, it allowed the home side to keep control of the ball on their way to victory.

Derry C Armstrong; F McEldowney, J Murray, R Small; C McGrogan, P McGurk (0-1), D McDermott; R Forbes (0-2), C Heron (0-1); C Spiers, R McNicholl, J McGuckian; N O’Donnell (0-2), E Higgins (0-1), O Doherty (1-4, 3f)

Subs S Young for C Spiers (38), C Chambers for E Higgins (38) R McGill for R McNicholl (49)

Cavan L Phillingham; J Tynan, E Crowe, K McCabe; F Shehu, O McCrystal, B McGahan; R Tobin, E Hartin; Mícheal Smith, Matthew Smith, B Donnelly (0-1); C Keaney (0-3, 2f), D Lovett (0-1f), D Madden (0-2)

Subs C Galligan for Matthew Smith (38), L Reilly for Michael Smith (44), J Tully for F Shehu (49) Dugdale for J Tynan (53)

Referee N McKenna (Monaghan)

Armagh 0-13 Monaghan 1-15

AFTER a slow start, a Bobby McCaul goal brought Monaghan to life, and they surged on from there to overcome Armagh by five points and book their place in the last four.

The dead-ball shooting of Stephen Mooney was crucial to the victory, as he nailed all nine frees that he took in a superb performance.

Armagh had the better of the early exchanges, and a sweetly struck 45 from Ruairi O’Brien, and Aaron O’Neill splitting the posts off the outside of his right boot helped them to lead 0-5 to 0-3.

But then, 19 minutes into the game a Packie Doogan Burke’s crossfield ball wasn’t cleanly gathered by Bobby McCaul under pressure from Odhran Carragher, but he did enough to break it to the floor, and from there he blasted it into the roof of the Armagh net.

Monaghan then outscored the hosts 0-4 to 0-2 to lead by a goal at the break, with both side’s centre half-backs, Sean Callan and Gareth Murphy, landing impressive scores respectively.

Monaghan began to pull away from Armagh in the first 20 minutes of the second half, as further points from Mooney (three frees) and Dara McKenna with a solitary Ruairi O’Brien free in response, having the Farney side leading by seven with 10 minutes to go.

Armagh were going to have to hit the net if they were to launch a comeback, but Monaghan were tight at the back, and didn’t allow the hosts a single opportunity to raise a green flag.

Instead, they kept the scoreboard ticking over and sealed the deal with scores from McKenna, McCaul and Oisin McGorman, whilst Armagh lost Fergal O’Brien to a late red card for dissent.

Armagh R Stevens; E Magee, O Carragher, J Lavery; F O’Brien (0-1), G Murphy (0-2), C O’Neill; T Grimley, P Blessing; R Duffy, R O’Brien (0-6, 5f, 1′45), F Boylan (0-1); L McKeever, A O’Neill (0-1), M Burnett.

Subs P O’Keefe (0-1) for Burnett (43), J Austin for McKeever (43), Tiernan Browne (0-1) for Boylan (54), C McGeough for Lavery (54)

Monaghan J Mooney; G Devlin, J McConnon, F Carolan; P Doogan Burke, S Callan (0-1), S Casey; D McKenna (0-2), T Hughes; C Foy, A Carey, O McGorman (0-1); S Mooney (0-10, 9f), B McCaul (1-1), K Duffy

Subs J McMahon for McGorman (60), D Mee for Casey (60)

Referee Barry McMenamin (Cavan)