GAA: Moortown see off Dungannon to claim Tyrone minor title

Moortown's Shane McKeown breaks away from Dungannon's Pearse Loughran during Sunday's Grade 1 Minor  championship final at Coalisland.INTT3015-404
Moortown's Shane McKeown breaks away from Dungannon's Pearse Loughran during Sunday's Grade 1 Minor championship final at Coalisland.INTT3015-404
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Moortown 2-11 Dungannon 1-10

Second half goals from Conan McLernon and Shane McKeown proved decisive as Moortown claimed a second successive county minor title.

Second half goals from Conan McLernon and Shane McKeown proved decisive as Moortown claimed a second successive county minor title.

Tyrone County Board Chairperson Roisin Jordan hands over the grade 1 minor championship cup to Moortown winning captain Christopher McGuigan.INTT3015-398

Tyrone County Board Chairperson Roisin Jordan hands over the grade 1 minor championship cup to Moortown winning captain Christopher McGuigan.INTT3015-398

Played in Fr Peter Campbell Park, Coalisland on a wet and wintry July evening the St Malachy’s had a sharper cutting edge in attack with McLernon and midfielder James Devlin proving match winners for their side.

The Clarkes would finish up the game with 13 men as Patrick Molloy saw a second yellow card and substitute Dylan O’Hagan a straight red as they came up just short.

Dungannon got off to a fantastic start with full-forward Conor McKee showing that he was well tuned up for the big occasion.

The rangy forward kicked three points in the opening seven minutes with some excellent points from play.

Moortown's Conan McLernon avades a tackle from Dungannon's Odhran McArdle.INTT3015-406

Moortown's Conan McLernon avades a tackle from Dungannon's Odhran McArdle.INTT3015-406

Even before McKee registered Dungannon had struck the Moortown post twice and saw the St Malachy’s full-back Tiarnan Hurl deny them a goal with a fine block down.

McKee opened the scoring with a brilliant effort from 40 metres out and added another fine solo point a minute later when he won the ball near the end line, made himself and angle and swung over a point.

He kicked his third in the seventh minute as the Clarkes got off to a dream start.

Moortown, however, tightened up at the back and began to gain the upperhand, deploying a sweeper in front of McKee.

Moortown's Ronan McGuigan gets by the tackle of Dungannon's Cameron Hughes.INTT3015-407

Moortown's Ronan McGuigan gets by the tackle of Dungannon's Cameron Hughes.INTT3015-407

James Devlin began to exert an influence around the middle and Conan McLernon started to get on ball in the final third of the field.

McLernon began the St Malachy’s fightback in the ninth minute of the game with a well taken free and a brilliant point from Devlin closed the gap to a solitary point in the 11th minute.

A minute later the sides were on terms as McLernon won and converted a free from 20 metres.

James Devlin then added his second point, a brilliant kick from almost 45 metres was one of the scores of the night.

McLernon added another as Moortown threatened to pull away, but the Dungannon men weren’t to be shaken off that easily.

Patrick Molloy kicked a fine point from a free in the 22nd minute of the half as the Clarkes closed the gap again.

A foul on Jack McGuigan allowed McLernon to extend the Moortown lead before full-forward Emmet McGuigan kicked a fine point from play in the 25th minute.

Dungannon needed scores before the half time break and they outscored the loughshore men two points to one in the closing minutes of the half with Lorcan Mallon adding a fine point from play to close the gap.

A third raking point of the half from James Devlin kept Moortown three points to the good before a late Naoise Martin effort made the half time score 0-8 to 0-6 in favour of the St Malachy’s.

A goal was always going to prove crucial and both sides had chances in the opening minutes of the second half.

Within the opening minute Dungannon’s Patrick Molloy burst through a couple of Moortown challenges and got a sight of goal, his effort however went wide of Michael Donnelly’s near post.

Three minutes later the St Malachy’s cut open the Clarke’s rearguard and might well have goaled but Shane McKeown’s effort flashed across the goal and wide.

In the 36th minute county minor attacker Conan McLernon showed the others how it should have been done as he took the ball at pace and shot on goal. Fintan McBride in the Dungannon goal got his hands on the ball but he couldn’t stop it going into his goal.

Another quick point from play from McLernon, after a one-two played from a free gave Moortown a six point cushion.

Dungannon looked to the struggling but their challenge was given new life when a ball lofted into the Moortown goalmouth went straight into the net, goalkeeper Donnelly under pressure from Dungannon’s Conor McKee.

Ronan Conlon responded almost immediately for Moortown but Dungannon had their chances, they just failed to take any under pressure from some good St Malachy’s pressure.

Patrick Molloy made the gap just three with ten minutes to go and the Clarkes might have goaled again but Tiarnan McCann made a fine block from Conor McKee.

The St Malachy’s then broke and almost straight from that chance and won a penalty at the other end, Conan McLernon adjudged to have been fouled by Brian McNulty, a decision that looked a little harsh.

Dungannon’s Patrick Molloy went into goals for the penalty but could do nothing to stop the powerful drive from Shane McKeown as he almost put the game to bed.

Any chance Dungannon had was lost moments later when Patrick Molloy reacted to a Emmet McGuigan foul and received a second yellow card. McGuigan received a black card for his trouble.

The Clarkes did reel off three quick points between the 55th and 58th minute to put a goal between the sides but James Devlin proved the match winner as he kicked a fourth brilliant point of the night to seal the win.

Dungannon’s Dylan O’Hagan received a late red card in injury time for kicking out at an opponent but it was Moortown’s night.