Derry defeat Tyrone to make Ulster minor final
Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Football Championship semi-final
Derry 2-10, Tyrone 1-08
Derry will meet Monaghan in the Ulster Minor Football Final after a superb performance saw them defeat Tyrone by five points in the Armagh Athletics Grounds on Sunday evening.
Conelth McGuckin was the Oak Leaf star with a brilliant 1-04 but two superb saves from young Kilrea keeper Aidan Gillan proved just as crucial in a game Derry eventually won with a bit to spare.
There was four points between the sides in first half injury time when Tyrone's Mark Hayes looked set to find the net with a low shot that would have changed the complexion of the game. It didn't because Gillan produced a superb save which looked even more vital seconds into the second half when a mistake from his opposite number, Mark McGale, allowed McGuckin to gather the loose ball and shoot Derry into a seven point lead.
Three minutes later, with Tyrone having pulled a goal back through Stephen Grogan after Gillan misjudged a high ball, he showed his character by again denying Tyrone the chance to bring the game back to a single point with another great save, this time from Michael McGleenan.
McGuckin and Enda Downey will get the plaudits but those two saves were game changers and his team-mates' response to each stop illustrated they knew their worth.
Tyrone were second best throughout but badly missed the influence of injured duo Daniel Fullerton and Lorcan McBride, two huge players for the Red Hands.
Both teams set up to pull men back behind the ball when the opposition attacked but Derry had the more effective forward line with that man Downey the focal point for most Oak Leaf forages forward.
Tyrone enjoyed quite a bit of joy on the Derry kick out but it was the Oak Leafers who were better in possession, patiently working the ball in front of the Red Hand packed rearguard and waiting for an opening.
And Paddy Campbell's men were as efficient with the possession as they were patient, hitting only one first half wide to Tyrone's four as the went in at the break four points up at 1-07 to 0-06 thanks to Downey's brilliant second minute goal.
The impressive Conleth McGuckin had seen his opening score cancelled out by Tyrone's Shea Daly before he turned provider with a superb pass that took out the Tyrone back line and sent Downey scampering clear.
The Lavey forward never looked like missing and sent a superb high drive into the net giving Mark McGale in the Tyrone net no chance for a 1-1 to 0-1 lead.
Dopwney then sent a free between the posts before Stephen Grogan, Tyrone's best player in the opening half, replied with a placed ball of his own.
And so it went tit-for-tat, Derry's ability to turn Tyrone over in their own '45' the launching pad for most Oak Leaf attack's as Eunan McElhennon drove forward at every opportunity.
McGuckin, from a free, pointed for Derry before Tarlach Quinn sent over a superb score under pressure from two Derry backs to keep Tyrone in touch.
Shea Daly then won the resulting Derry kick-out for Tyrone and set up Grogan for another Red hand score but Downey responded within seconds with another free as Tyrone started to rack up the fouls.
Two more frees from Downey and McCuckin had Derry 1-06 to 0-4 up but Tyrone rallied through another brace of frees by Grogan to bring it back to three points. McElhennon though had the final say of the half with a lovely score from play to ensure a four point interval advantage.
the second half was only seconds old when Iarlaith Donaghy's high ball allowed McGuckin to drive home Derry's second goal after McGale had spilled possession.
Grogan's goal cancelled that out but that was the only time Tyrone looked like finding the net which allowed Derry to keep them at arm's length with relative ease.
The Red Hands had substitute Conor Quinn black carded in the second half and their night was summed up when Ronan McHugh's point shortly after was cancelled by referee Kevin Faloon after black card substitute Aaron McGrath had entered the field without being waved on.
It was on of those nights but Derry were the better side throughout. They played with a maturity that belied their age to set up a final that is a repeat of the preliminary clash at Celtic Park.
That match went right to the wire with Derry winning it in injury time of extra-time. The final could be as close. Derry will go in an underdogs again but this is a Derry team who have made a habit of upsetting the odds and on this type of display few would bet against them doing it again.
Derry scorers: Enda Downey (1-3, 3f), Conleth McGuckin (1-4, 2f), E McElhennon (0-1), N Doyle (0-1), PJ McAleese;
Tyrone scorers: Stephen Grogan (1-3, 3f), Shea Daly (0-2), Tarlach Quinn (0-1), Shane Murphy (0-2, 1f),
Derry: Aidan Gillan; Conan Milne, Tiarnan Woods, Ronan McFaul; Aidan McCluskey, Johnny McErlain, Eoin McKeever; Niall Doyle, Iarlaith Donaghy; Eunan McElhennon, Shea Murray, Ethan Doherty; Eoghan Hawe, Enda Downey, Conleth McGuckin.
(Subs) PJ McAleese for E McKeever, 43mins; Dara Mooney for S Murray, 43mins; Sean Kearney for E Haew, 55mins; Conor McAteer for C McGuckin, 61mins; Dylan Bloomer for E Downey, 62mins;
Yellow cards: E Hawe, 22mins; R McFaul, 24mins
Tyrone: Mark McGale; Cormac Quinn, Conall Devlin, Lorcan Kilpatrick; Ronan Duffin, Kevin Barker, Oisin McHugh; Tarlach Quinn, Michael McGleenan; Ben Groogan, Oran Muldrew, Cormac McBride; Stephen Grogan, Mark Hayes, Shea Daly.
(Subs) Shane Murphy for C McBride, HT; Conor Quinn for S Daly, HT; Ronan McHugh for O McHugh, 37mins; Mark Devlin for S Grogan, 41mins; Paddy McCallan for
Black Cards: C Quinn, 48mins (replaced by Aaron McGrath)
Referee: Kevin Faloon (Armagh)