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Tyrone Scrape Into Under 20 Semi Final

Sunday 30.06.2019
Team Talk Mag


Leading at the break 2-6 to 0-2 and turning around to play with the aid of a strong breeze, few watching would have predicted that Tyrone would be holding on at the end of their Eirgrid U20 quarter final clash with Down played on Sunday afternoon at a resplendent Healy Park.

However that is exactly what happened as the Mourne men produced a superb second half to almost snatch the most unlikely of wins against a Tyrone side that appeared well on their way to victory at the break.

Tyrone began well in spite of losing Peter Óg Mc Cartan to injury in the third minute of the game. Tenacious tackling created an opportunity for a quick counter attack and Darragh Canavan raced through the Down defence before finishing superbly to the net. Tiarnan Quinn landed a point before Down centre back Conor Clarke burst through for their opening score.

After that it was all about Tyrone as Paul Devlin’s side hit four points without reply to move 1-5 to 0-1 ahead with Quinn (3) and Sean Óg Mc Aleer on target. With half time approaching Down corner forward Seamus Loughran landed a free from an acute angle before a strong run from Conall Grimes created a half chance at the other end. Wing forward Mark Mc Kearney took the pass from Grimes and finished to the net to help send Tyrone in at the break leading 2-6 to 0-2.

Many of those present felt that the game as a contest was all but over, however they had failed to consider just how talented this Down side was.

Full forward Liam Kerr, centre back Clarke, midfielder Ross Carr and half time sub Cormac O’Rawe took the game by the scruff of the neck and dragged Down right back into it. They hit 1-10 with Kerr landing four superb points and Clarke getting on the end of a superb team move to finish the ball to the net and leave one point between the sides with the game entering added time.

The Red Hands struggled to win primary possession throughout the second half and the break ball was virtually owned by the team in red and black. Down were a team transformed after the break and their work rate and commitment deserved something from the game.

Tyrone were under serious pressure all over the field riding their luck several times as Down pushed for scores. Substitute Michael Conroy appeared to have gained his team some breathing space with his second point of the game to edge Tyrone six clear but Down’s response was as quick as it was effective.

Kerr and Ryan Mc Evoy pointed and the momentum swung totally in their favour as centre back Clarke finished a superb move to the back of the Tyrone net with the game heading into injury time. Tyrone nerves were jangling but with the clock showing thirty nine  minutes played team captain Ruairi Gormley finally ensured the win for Tyrone with a superb score that left the result 2-11 to 1-12 in Tyrone’s favour.

The winners will now go forward to meet Cavan in the semi final next weekend.

Tyrone scorers: Darragh Canavan 1-1, Tiarnan Quinn 0-6, Mark Mc Kearney 1-0, Michael Conroy 0-2, Sean Óg Mc Aleer 0-1, Ruairi Gormley 0-1.



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