Tyrone are through to the All Ireland U20 Final after coming out on top against Kerry in what was a real battle at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise this afternoon.
It was a game that will live long in the memories of those who travelled to see it, There was little between the two sides throughout the game and indeed Tyrone only got their noses in front for the first time in the 57th minute when Clogher ace Ciaran Bogue crashed home a match deciding goal. Kerry put all they had into turning the game but Tyrone remained resolute with Steve Donaghy, Eoin Corry, Brian Conway and team Captain Niall Devlin to the fore.
Kerry played wind assisted in the first half but in spite of enjoying lots of possession they went in at the break only leading by one. All things considered Tyrone would have been more than happy to have been in that position given the fact that they played ten minutes with only fourteen men after full back Conway was black carded.
Dylan Geaney opened the scoring for Kerry from a free before he doubled their advantage from another placed ball in the 7th minute after Conway had been black carded.
Not long after that the Munster champions moved three points ahead following a well taken score from distance by full forward Kevin Goulding. Tyrone finally opened their account in the 8th minute courtesy of a Ciaran Bogue point and they closed the gap further following an outrageous effort from Ruairi Canavan after Michael McGleenan had taken a brilliant catch from a kick out.
Cillian Burke put his team two ahead again but with the Ulster champions now back to their full quota they were making a real game of it. McGleenan surged past a couple of challenges and clipped over a fine score as play continued to swing from end to end.
A sharp turn from Goulding saw him land a superb point from distance but again Tyrone responded with Canavan knocking over a free. In the 27th minute Tyrone came close to snatching a goal when Kerry keeper Devon Burns was penalised for taking too long with the kick out. From the resulting hop ball McGleenan secured possession before bursting through but his goal bound shot was deflected onto the bar before being cleared.
A superb Conor Cush point levelled matters on the restart but four minutes into the second half Geaney plundered a Kerry goal. The same player then scored to put Kerry four in front and Tyrone looked to be in trouble.
Man of the match Canavan upped the ante once more and led the comeback with a couple of points with Bogue also on target. The Ulster champions received a further boost when Kerry defender Alan Dineen was black carded.
Donaghy was the right man in the right place when he cleared a ball off the line to prevent a certain Kerry goal. Tyrone came straight down the field for Canavan to hit an outstanding equaliser from out on the right wing. Goulding and Canavan then exchanged points before Kerry keeper Devon Burns nudged his side back in front from a placed ball.
Canavan brought the sides level once again and when his attempt for the lead point came back off the post Gavin Potter reacted first to play the rebound to Bogue who showed considerable composure and fired to the net. Ruairi Murphy and Geaney had Kerry points but Canavan had a score sandwiched in between as Tyrone set up a final date with Kildare.
Tyrone: S McMenamin, M Rafferty, B Conway, E Corry, J Donaghy, S Donaghy, N Devlin, R McHugh, C Daly, C Cush (0-2), C Bogue (1-2), R Canavan (0-8, 3F, 1M), S O’Donnell (0-1), M McGleenan (0-1), D Muldoon. Subs: G Potter for Cush, L Donnelly for O’Donnell, E Montgomery for Bogue
Kerry: D Burns (0-1, 1F), D O’Callaghan, A Dineen, J Nagle, E O’Connor, A Heinrich, T Cronin, R Murphy (0-2), S O’Brien, C Burke (0-1), T O’Donnell, E Looney, D Geaney (1-4, 2F), K Goulding (0-4, 1M), K Evans. Subs: T Doyle for Looney, J Kissane for O’Donnell, G Hassett for Evans, A Curran for Cronin, J O’Connor for Goulding