Tyrone thrash Monaghan to claim Ulster U20 semi-final spot

The Farney side now face a quarter-final next week, while Derry will face Cavan in the other last-eight tie

Conleth McGrogan and Callum Walsh
Derry’s Conleth McGrogan keeps tabs on Callum Walsh of Antrim during last night’s encounter at Owenbeg. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin (MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN PHOTOGRAPHY )

EirGrid Ulster U20 Football Championship

Section A, round five

Tyrone 5-20 Monaghan 0-8

Derry 5-16 Antrim 0-3

TYRONE’S 27-point victory over Monaghan sent them straight through to the Eirgrid Ulster U20 Football Championship semi-finals as unbeaten Section A winners.

The Red Hands wrapped up their round-robin phase with an impressive display at Coalisland, avoiding the quarter-finals as they powered on with their bid to win a second provincial title in three years.

It was an awesome attacking performance from a team that had no less than 14 players on the score-sheet by the full-time whistle.

Monaghan started brightly with points from Nickey Sherlock and Dara McKenna, but the Red Hands flicked a switch and assumed total control, out-scoring the visitors by 3-7 to 0-1 for the remainder of the first half.

By the end of the opening quarter, they had built up a 1-5 to 0-2 lead, with scores from Eoin McElholm, Gavin Potter and Conor Owens.

It was wing-back Odhran Brolly who smacked in their opening goal, and Joey Clarke’s run set up Cormac Devlin to rifle home the second on 26 minutes.

McElholm added a third major in stoppage time to send the Red Hands in with a commanding 3-8 to 0-3 lead.

Ruairi McCullagh came off the bench to fire home 1-2 in the space of three minutes as Tyrone, now with the wind in their backs, continued to display hunger and drive.

Kian Duffy and Luke McManus pulled back Monaghan points, and Dara McKenna converted a ‘45, but the visitors were fighting fires all over the pitch against a Red Hand side that moved the ball fast and attacked in numbers.

Further scores from substitutes Paddy McCann, Noah Grimes, Ronan Donnelly and McCullagh stretched the lead, and the rout was completed by Michael Rafferty’s late goal.

Derry cruised past Antrim to finish second in Section A, just behind Tyrone, with 28-points to spare at Owenbeg.

Two goals in quick succession inside the opening 20 minutes saw the hosts race into an early 10-point lead and Derry held the initiative from there, with Ruairi Forbes and Ryan McNicholl both raising white flags.

Two more majors followed shortly after, with Niall O’Donnell and star man McNicholl rattling the net.

That gave the Oak Leaf county a 21-point lead at the turnaround as they headed into the changing rooms 4-9 to 0-0 ahead.

Anton Donnelly, Conleth McGrogan and Shea McCann all pointed as Derry got off to another fast start before Antrim opened their account in the 46th minute, with Gaireach MacAdhaim grabbing their first.

Derry added another three-pointer before the final whistle with Odhran Murphy slotting home from the penalty spot after Ciaran Chambers had been brought down.

Section B, round three

Fermanagh 1-11 Cavan 2-9

Donegal v Armagh postponed

CAVAN picked up their first victory of the campaign as they battled past Fermanagh at Brewster Park by the minimum of margins.

Cavan led for the majority of the game, having netted inside the opening two minutes, and withstood a late Fermanagh comeback to seal the victory. Five points separated the sides going into the final quarter, but the home side rallied to leave a nervy finish.

The Breffni men burst out of the traps with centre half-forward Matthew Smith rattling the net. Both teams registered points, but the goal was the key score, with Cavan leading at half-time by 1-6 to 0-5.

Cavan began to pull away with scores from Favor Shehu, Darragh Lovett and Cian Keaney, although Fermanagh kept in touch with a Conor O’Hanlon free and a Jack Quinlan score.

A goal from Michael Burns closed the gap to just one but Cavan stretched the margin once again, with captain and ace attacker Lovett grabbing a goal. Fermanagh fought hard to get something from the game, but Cavan held on to win by one.

Last night’s other game in Section B between Donegal and Armagh was postponed as the pitch at Páirc Seán MacCumhaill was waterlogged.