Ulster U17 Championship: Armagh 1-05, Derry 3-14
DERRY will meet Fermanagh for a place in the Ulster semi-final after inflicting a 15 point mauling on Armagh at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday.
Midfield dominance was key to victory as the pairing of Niall Doyle and captain Iarlaith Donaghy laid the foundations for a sensational performance to sets up a quarter-final meeting with Fermanagh.
Armagh led 1-3 to 0-3 after 13 minutes but would only register a further two scores after target man, Shane Donnelly, blasted into the roof of the net.
Derry took complete control with Enda Downey shining brightest as he kicked six eye-catching scores to keep his side ahead. Shea Murray and Ethan Doherty scored first half goals while a third Eoghan Hawe penalty in as many weeks sealed the game early in the second half.
Armagh opened the scoring after just 28 seconds when Louis Hughes tapped over as his side won the throw-in but Aidan McCluskey restored parity.
Downey would hit the next two scores to extend the Oakleaf advantage, the second a fine counter attacking move as the ball passed through the hands of Ethan Doherty and Eoghan Hawe before the Lavey talisman tapped over.
Pat McGrane’s side opted for ‘route one’ football, targeting Shane Donnelly inside. One such long ball from Michael Long saw Donnelly flick the ball over the corner back’s head before sending a rasping effort into the roof of the net.
Louis Hughes put three between the sides, profiting from an insightful break from the towering Donnelly inside. Derry responded through Downey who was producing sheer magic, nailing a 40 yard free. Minutes later he repeated the feat from almost 50 yards.
There was 20 minutes played when Niall Doyle caught a spectacular mark but opted to play on, finding Eoghan Hawe who played in Ethan Doherty and he made no mistake, riffling an effort into the top left corner of the net. Six minutes later Paddy Campbell’s men had their second major when Shea Murray finished off a lightening counter which saw Donaghy and Doherty involved.
Eoin Woods got Armagh’s first score in over 10 minutes before teammate James McCormack was issued a black card in the final action of the half that ended 2-6 to 1-4 with the visitors in control.
Derry emerged sharpest from the blocks for the second half as Donaghy snatched the throw-in and picked out Downey who created space for Eunan McElhennon to point.
Seven minutes later the game was dead and buried as Sean Kearney beat his man before being brought down while bearing down on goal. Referee Darren O’Hare awarded a penalty which Hawe duly sent underneath the keeper for his third penalty goal in as many matches.
Orchard target man Donnelly was being rendered ineffective as a swarm of red and white jersey’s halted his involvement and one such turnover saw the ball played to Hawe in the corner he made no mistake from the narrowest of angles.
Downey continued to bring a touch of class to proceedings, taking a pass from Hawe before beating his man only to blaze the goal chance high over the bar. The exhibition continued as Murray landed a monstrous effort from range.
Donaghy and Doyle continued to win kick-out after kick-out this was matched by driving runners off the shoulder. Conleth McGuckin took the ball from Ethan Doherty’s run on loop, composing himself before stroking over.
Downey curled over a magic effort off his left right in front of the stand in what the local radio commentator in the press box termed ‘poetry in motion’.
With five minutes to play Armagh got their first score of the half ironically from full back, Lee Rice who picked up the break after a long diagonal ball.
Derry substitutes Jamie Dougan and Donal O’Kane put the icing on the cake with two fantastic points in injury time as Armagh were reduced to 14 in the final action of the game, Lee Rice dismissed on a second yellow card.
ARMAGH: Caolan McParland, Dan McCarthy, Lee Rice (0-1), Peter McGrane, Liam Finnegan, Michael King, Niall McCorry, Jamie Martin, Connor Doherty, Shane Donnelly (1-0), Louis Hughes (0-2), Jack Cunningham, Patsy Finnegan, Eoin Woods (0-2 1f), James McCormack.
SUBS: Oisin King for James McCormack (31), Dara O’Callaghan for Jamie Martin (44), Tiernan O’Hare for Jack Cunningham (44), Alan Davidson for Connor Doherty (54), Rory Kearney for Niall McCorry (59).
BLACK CARDS: James McCormack (30).
YELLOW CARDS: Lee Rice (31)&(64), Tiernan O’Hare (51).
RED CARDS: Lee Rice (64).
DERRY: Aidan Gillen, Conan Milne, Tiarnan Woods, Eoin McKeever, Aidan McCluskey (0-1), Johnny McErlain, Eunan McElhennon (0-1), Niall Doyle, Iarlaith Donaghy, Sean Kearney (0-1 1f), Shea Murray (1-1), Ethan Doherty (1-0), Eoghan Hawe (1-1 1pen), Enda Downey (0-6 2f), Conleth McGuckin (0-1).
SUBS: Conor McAteer for Sean Kearney (46), Dara Mooney for Eoghan Hawe (53), Cahir Higgins for Enda Downey (56), Ronan Lee for Conleth McGuckin (56), Donal O’Kane (0-1) for Ethan Doherty (57), Jamie Dougan (0-1) for Aidan McCluskey (57).
REFEREE: Darren O’Hare (Down)