Tyrone will play Donegal in the Ulster U20 Championship semi final next weekend after they had to pull out all the stops to overcome a dogged Down side at Loughmacrory on Saturday afternoon. It was a brilliant ten point turnaround from the Red Hands as they recovered from a poor opening quarter when they fell 1-3 to 0-1 behind to win by the same margin. They played their way into contention and after trailing by a point at the break they hit the opening four scores of the second half as they put increasing pressure on the Down kick out. Down closed the gap to the minimum but they were never able to get level and with Tyrone now on top around the middle third of the field they closed the game out with three points from Ruairi Canavan and one from Conor Cush. Ryan Mackey and Canavan traded early points but then Down got on top and a well worked 14th minute goal from full forward Adam Crimmins gave them a deserved 1-3 to 0-1 advantage. Tyrone though didn’t panic and well taken points from Canavan, Cush and Ciaran Daly got them up and running. Luke Donnelly then converted a penalty after Canavan had been fouled and moments later Tyrone keeper Stephen McMenamin came to his side’s rescue with a superb save to deny Crimmins a second goal. Down keeper Aaron Murdock converted a 45 as well as a long range free to leave the visitors leading 1-6 to 1-5 at the interval.
Straight from the throw in Cush levelled matters before Canavan, Michael McGleenan and Daly all tagged on points. A couple of scores from Oisin Savage kept Down in the game and going into the final quarter only the minimum separated the two sides. Down though failed to score again with Cush taking a superb point from out on the right wing via the post before Canavan coolly converted a trio of frees after he had been fouled himself on each occasion as they advanced to the last four.