Derry U20s out of Ulster Championship as Monaghan progress on frustrating night for Oak Leafers

Ulster Under 20 Football Championship Quarter-Final

Friday, 9th July 2021, 10:37 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 10:38 pm
Monaghan’s Thomas McPhillips attempts to block a shot from Derry’s Conor McAteer during the Ulster Under 20 match on Friday night. (Photo: George Sweeney)

Derry 0-11, Monaghan 2-09

Derry Under 20s' Championship season ended at the first hurdle on a frustrating night in Celtic Park which saw Monaghan deservedly progress to the Ulster semi-final.

Preparations had been far from ideal for Paddy Bradley and his team but they produced an encouraging first half display only to fade after half-time. Indeed Monaghan were fortunate to turn around with a slender 2-03 to 0-07 interval lead thanks to two goals from Jason Irwin, the second of which took an unfortunate deflection off Derry's Shane McGrogan before finding its way into the net.

Monaghan’s Jack McGeown pulls away from Derry’s Conleth McGuckin in Celtic Park on Friday night. (Photo: George Sweeney).

But if the first half frustration was that Derry didn't take their chances, the second was that they didn't do themselves justice. Time and again, Derry coughed up easy possession, allowing a defensive Monaghan to turn over ball and break at pace.

In the end, the Farney County could have won more convincingly than the final scoreline suggested with a late red card for a frustrated James McGurk summing up a disappointing evening for the Oak Leafers.

Bradley's hands were tied to some extent by the success of the the 2020 minor side who were in All Ireland semi-final action against on Saturday, meaning he was without a number of that side who would have naturally made the step up to the U20s. Also missing was Ethan Doherty who is expected to line out for Rory Gallagher senior side against Donegal on Sunday but Bradley was still able to call on a strong Oak 15.

Derry started with Cahir McMonagle and Sean Kearney inside and Enda Downey the link behind them with Darragh McGilligan dropping back into the sweeping role and they enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. Both sides were showing signs of limited preparation with mistakes evident but while Derry probably enjoyed to better in the possession stakes, Monaghan's ability to fashion goal chances was a major cause for home concern.

Indeed the visitors created four decent chances, two of which were converted, one rather fortuitously, which sent them into the break with a 2-03 to 0-7 lead they barely deserved.

Derry's build up was patient but perhaps too patient at times given the speed and movement of McMonagle and Kearney was causing problems for the Monaghan full-back line. The opening quarter was all about Derry with Odhran McLarnon's opening the scoring with a lovely point inside 90 seconds.

Downey added a second on four minutes and Derry looked on control against a Monaghan side that were slow to get going. They opened their account on six minutes when goalkeeper Ryan Farrelly came up to take a free but dropped it short where it was recycled for Darragh Treanor to point.

Derry had a couple of early warnings of what was to follow when Lavey's Jamie Duggan produced a superb block on Shane Slevin's effort before Aidan McCluskey's then denied Jason Irwin a goal chance with a brilliant blast ditch tackle to stop him going clear.

Those warnings were not heeded though and with seconds of that McCluskey tackle, Monaghan had turned over possession and fed Irwin again, the corner forward this time firing a low effort across Jack Scullion and into the far corner of the Derry net for 1-01 to 0-2.

Derry responding with a fine Jamie Duggan point and were soon level thanks to an Enda Downey free. A lovely Sean Kearney '45' and McMonagle's fist of the day made it four Derry scores in a row and took the home side 0-6 to 1-02 ahead.

Joel Watson pulled one back for Monaghan before disaster struck for Derry on 26 minutes when Irwin's harmless looking fist pass from along the end line was deflected into the home net by the unfortunate McGrogan. Even Kearney's brilliant late point to leave the half-time deficit at two points couldn't disguise the fact Derry had let Monaghan off the hook.

The home side appeared intent on addressing that in the second period as points from Downey (free) and Darragh McGilligan tied the game but only after Jack Scullion had produced a brilliant save, aided by Duggan clearing off the line, the stop a third Monaghan goal.

But that would be as good as it got for Derry, the remainder of the half belonging to the Farney who took advantage of frequent turnovers t build a match winning advantage. Three successive points quelled the Derry resurgence and left the visitors 2-06 to 0-9 ahead and from there Monaghan simply kept Derry at arm's length.

The home side rarely threatened the goal that would have reignited their chances with McGurk's late red card for tripping Monaghan keeper Ryan Farrelly summing up a frustrating night.

Derry scorers: Odhran McLarnon (0-1), Enda Downey (0-3, 2f), Jamie Duggan (0-1), Sean Kearney (0-2), Cahir McMonagle (0-1), Darragh McGilligan (0-1), James McGurk (0-1), Conor McAteer (0-1),

Monaghan scorers: Jason Irwin (2-1), Darragh Treanor (0-1), Liam McDonald (0-1), Joel Wilson (0-1), Donnach Swinburne (0-1), Darragh McElearney (0-1), Darragh Dempsey (0-2), Jack McGeown (0-1),

Derry: Jack Scullion, Odhran McLarnon, Ronan McFaul, Aidan McCluskey, James McGurk, Jamie Duggan, Shane McGrogan, Iarlaith Donaghy, Oisin McErlean, Darragh McGilligan, Enda Downey, Conleth McGuckian, Cahir McMonagle, Sean Kearney, Conor McAteer. (Subs) Niall Doyle for C McMonagle, 46mins; Oran McMenamin for S McGrogan, 48mins;

Red Card: J McGurk, 62mins.

Monaghan: Ryan Farrelly, Ronan Grimes, Thomas McPhillips, Ronan Boyle, Darragh McElearney, Shane Hanratty, Brendan Og Duffy, Gavin McPhllips, Joel Wilson, Darragh Treanor, Liam McDonald, Shane Slevin, Michael Meehan, Donnach Swinburne, Jason Irwin. (Subs) Darragh Dempsey for L McDonald, 42mins; Jack McGeown for D Treanor, 43mins; Kyle Connolly for S Slevin, 55mins; Cian Maguire for J Irwin, 59mins;

Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Tyrone)