Football

Gavin Potter’s late point gives Tyrone victory in U20 clash with Derry

The Red Hands remain unbeaten after three games

Johnny McGuckin and Shea O'Hare
Johnny McGuckin and Shea O'Hare Derry's Johnny McGuckin with Shea O'Hare of Tyrone during the Ulster U20 match at Celtic Park on Wednesday. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin (Margaret McLaughlin Photography )

EirGrid Ulster U20 Football Championship Section A, round three

Derry 1-9 Tyrone 0-13

TYRONE finished strongly to extend their unbeaten run in the Eirgrid Ulster U20 Football Championship at Celtic Park as two of the highly fancied front-runners fought out a tense tactical battle.

In a dramatic finish, Johnny McGuckin brought Derry level with a stoppage-time goal, but the Red Hands snatched it at the death with a Gavin Potter winner to put them in a strong position in Section A.

Both sides worked off solid defensive platforms, and it was the Red Hands who eventually worked out a way to find the openings and pick off the vital scores after the sides went in level at the break

Tyrone struggled to break down a packed home defence, switching from flank to flank, but to no avail, and it was Derry who broke for Cahir Spiers and Oisin Doherty to fire over points.

The Red Hands did manage to find an opening through Shea O’Hare and Cormac Devlin to send Oisin Gormley in for a shot at goal, which lacked conviction and was easily dealt with by ‘keeper Callum Armstrong.

Gavin Potter got the visitors off the mark with a fine effort in the 14th minute, but straight from Armstrong’s excellent kick-out, Danny McDermott sent Eoin Higgins in to restore the two-point advantage.

Cahir Spiers and Johnny McGuckin caused problems for the Tyrone defence with their pace and movement, but the sides were level by the 24th minute as Gormley and Callum Daly hit the target to cancel out Oisin Doherty’s superbly struck score.

Another gem from Ryan McNicholl regained the lead for the Oak Leafers, but Tyrone corner-back Joey Clarke made a couple of vital defensive interventions, before getting forward to shoot the equaliser, 0-5 each at the end of a tight and tense opening half.

McNicholl had a shot at goal charged down by a combination of Eoin McElholm and ‘keeper Conor McAneney in the opening minutes of the second half, and Tyrone raided for Ronan Cassidy to shoot Tyrone ahead for the first time, before stretching the advantage from a free.

Doherty tapped over a couple of Derry frees to bring the sides level for the third time, and they were back in front when Tommy Rogers converted a ‘45, after McNicholl’s screamer was deflected away.

Now the game was opening up to offer flair and excitement to the modest crowd, with Tyrone staying in touch to go level again through wing-back Shea O’Hare.

It was substitute Ruairi McCullagh who edged the Red Hands back in front going into the closing 10 minutes, and they were protecting a three-point lead when McGuckin smashed home a goal in the 63rd minute.

But there was still time for Potter to punch over a winning point.

Derry C Armstrong; F McEldowney, C Herron, R Small; C McGrogan (0-1), J Murray, D McDermott; R Forbes, T Rogers (0-1, 45); C Spiers (0-1), R McGill, J McGuckin (1-0); E Higgins (0-1), R McNicholl (0-1), O Doherty (0-4, 2f).

Sub N O’Donnell for McNicholl, S Young for McGrogan

Tyrone C McAneney; J Clarke (0-1), B Hughes, Conor Devlin; S O’Hare (0-1), M Rafferty, C Daly (0-1); R Fox (0-1), C O’Neill; Cormac Devlin, E McElholm, G Potter (0-2); R Cassidy (0-2, 1f), C Owens (0-2, 1m), O Gormley (0-1).

Subs R McCullagh (0-1) for Gormley, O Brolly for Conor Devlin, N Grimes (0-1, m) for Owens, P McCann for Fox

Referee E McFeely (Donegal)