Heartbreak as Derry City lose out in dramatic U19 Elite League Final

DEJECTION . . . .One of the young City players pictured after the final whistle.  DER1615MC095

DEJECTION . . . .One of the young City players pictured after the final whistle. DER1615MC095

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DERRY CITY U19s . . . 2, ST. PAT’S ATHLETIC U19s . . . 3

DERRY City’s highly regarded Elite Under-19 side ended the season on a bitterly disappointing note in Maginn Park, Buncrana, on Saturday evening.

Eamon Noughton and Emmett Logan, SEE Airtricity hand over the Dr Tony O'Neill Perpetual Cup to winning captain, St. Patrick's Athletic's Curtis Murphy at Maginn Park on Saturday after they defeated Derry City 3-2 in the U-19 final. DER1615MC096

Eamon Noughton and Emmett Logan, SEE Airtricity hand over the Dr Tony O'Neill Perpetual Cup to winning captain, St. Patrick's Athletic's Curtis Murphy at Maginn Park on Saturday after they defeated Derry City 3-2 in the U-19 final. DER1615MC096

Managed joined by John Quigg and Hugh Harkin, the young “Candystripes” were narrowly defeated by St. Patrick’s Athletic, the game watched by Republic of Ireland Under-19 boss, Paul Doolin.

And for the Inchicore youngsters, it was very much a case of revenge following their devastating Enda McGuill Cup semi-final defeat on penalties by the Brandywell side.

As has been the case in matches involving these two teams on three occasions this season, there was very little between the sides.

However, St. Pat’s produced the character to battle back from an early Derry City strike and having caught the Brandywell side cold during the early stages of the second half, the Dubliners held out for what was a deserved win on the day.

Considered the top two teams in the Elite Under-19 Airtricity League, Derry drew first blood after just nine minutes following what was a fluent build-up.

And it was completed when right-winger, Ronan Curtis, delivered a telling cross into the danger area which saw Derry City striker, George Kelly, launch into a diving header to divert the ball home.

In fact, the young “Candystripes” continued to boss the ball with the wind at their backs with Ciaran Harkin crashing a superb effort off the St. Pat’s crossbar eight minutes later with keeper, Lee Doyle, stranded.

However, the Inchicore youngsters regrouped and restored equality in the 23rd minute when hitting on the counter-attack.

Derry centre-back, Patrick McClean, younger brother of senior Irish international, James, slipped at the vital moment allowing RoryFeely to burst through on goal and the Pat’s player finished with aplomb.

And the pendulum swung in the direction of the visitors at the start of the second half, the Derry City players clearly caught cold.

Pat’s midfieldcer, Jack Bayly, displayed superb footwork to weave his way into the danger area within two minutes of the re-start before finding the well positioned Jamie McGrath presenting the striker with a simple tap-in from close range.

That goal certainly frustrated the Brandywell side who went close to restoring quality in the 57th minute, but Curtis failed to hit the target when set-up by Kelly.

And it got worse for the home lot in the 80th minute when enjoying an excellent spell of pressure, Pat’s again hit on the break with devastating effect.

The impressive, McGrath, an under-19 international last season, raced clear from the half-way line with Derry having committed so many players forward and the “man of the match” produced a magnificent chip to from 25 yards to end this final as a contest.

Derry refused to give up the ghost and, to be fair, they forced a nervous finish when Kelly drove the ball high into the net following a goalmouth scramble in the 85th minute

But Pat’s used their experience to good effect to see the game out to deservedly secure the Airtricity Elite Under-19 title.

Derry City - Lynch; McCauley, Blake, McClean, McFadden; Curtis, Holden,Harkin, Doherty (McCallion, 56); Flanagan (Dulop, 68); Kelly.

Subs. not used: D. Doherty, Mills and McDermott.

St. Patrick’s Athletic - Doyle; Delmar, Hannigan, Rooney, Murphy; Feely, Bayly (Sule, 82), Hanlon, Markey; Bracken (Ball, 62), McGrath.

Subs. not used: Ennis, T. O’Brien, I. O’Brien, Hogan and Callaghan.

Referee - Mr. T. Moyne (Donegal).