GAA: McNulty is the man as Clonoe defeat Pomeroy in U21 final

Clonoe's Danny McNulty takes the ball around Eglish goalkeeper Steven Colton and scores a goal. INTT4013-711DCA
Clonoe's Danny McNulty takes the ball around Eglish goalkeeper Steven Colton and scores a goal. INTT4013-711DCA

In a dramatic conclusion to Saturday’s Tyrone U21 knockout final at Edendork, Danny McNulty’s injury time free handed Clonoe the narrowest of victories over Pomeroy, writes Geoffrey Gillis.

The majority of action and talking points were condensed into the closing eight minutes as Clonoe’s late surge denied a gallant Plunkett’s side the opportunity of collecting the silverware.

A McNulty goal swung the pendulum Clonoe’s way before a debatable Hugh McNamee penalty levelled proceedings 2-7 to 1-10 on 57 minutes.

Moments later John Loughran saw a point disallowed, when referee Dermot Monaghan overruled his umpire before awarding Clonoe a free to break Pomeroy hearts.

Pomeroy a better balanced team, the leadership of Brendan Burns, Kieran McGeary, Loughran and McNamee causing O’Rahillys problems.

They applied the basics better but just when an upset look likely Clonoe showed their worth with Dwayne Quinn, Declan McClure, Rhys Quinn and McNulty steering them over the line.

McNulty contributing 1-6 to the winning tally on a day McClure delivered a majestic display of fielding in midfield.

Loughran sandwiched two McNulty frees in the opening minutes and, even though Darryl Magee pointed for a 3-1 cushion, it was the underdogs, who established control with a Damian Woods goal on eight minutes.

Frank Burns, Aidan Armstrong and McNamee added points, with Clonoe relying exclusively on the accuracy of McNulty from the dead ball until Captain Quinn weighed in with a gem on 33 minutes to close the gap 1-5 to 0-5 by halftime.

McNulty managed two points in a tactical third quarter epitomised by some excellent Pomeroy defending from the likes of HP McGeary and Ronan Quinn who repelled numerous attacks.

McNamee angled over two quality frees as Pomeroy maintained their appetite for battle before the complexion changed on 52 minutes as McNulty gathered a McClure delivery to goal for a 1-8 to 1-7 advantage. Quick fire points from Magee and substitute James O’Neill appeared to settle the issue until McNamee ruthlessly punished goalkeeper Donnelly’s needless tackle on Woods from the penalty spot for a level game.

Following Loughran’s disputed score McNulty popped over the matchwinning free - leaving despondent Pomeroy to reflect on a wasted last gasp opportunity to force a replay.