Saturday 20 January 2018

O'Neill finally gets Tyrone over the line

Tyrone 1-15
Down 1-10
Ulster U-21 FC q-f replay

After almost four hours of enthralling action, Tyrone finally triumphed at the end of an epic to qualify for the semi-finals.

Victory in last night's second replay at the Athletic Grounds brought an end to a tie which twice went to extra-time and to two rematches.

The Red Hands will have to regroup and recover for another big challenge next week, when they face Monaghan in a last-four clash.

Tyrone found themselves six points behind early in the second quarter, but a Ronan O'Neill goal sparked a spectacular fightback and they turned on the style in the second half to win with plenty to spare.

Down struck for a goal in the 18th minute, Paul Devlin applying a classy finish past Niall Morgan.

And when Danny Savage steered over a wonderful point, Down led by six points, 1-5 to 0-2. But Tyrone shot 1-4 in the space of six minutes to go ahead, with O'Neill grabbing the 25th-minute goal.

Points from O'Neill, Paddy McNeice and Niall Sludden edged the Red Hands ahead, but the sides went in level at 1-6 each after Ryan Brady had swung over a Down point.

Tyrone started to run at the Down defence, and superb scores from Kyle Coney and Peter Harte had them a couple of points to the good.

McNeice swung over a couple of placed balls as the gap grew to six with 10 minutes to play. Down's Devlin knocked over a 56th-minute free, but their late flourish fell short.

SCORERS -- Tyrone: R O'Neill 1-6 (0-6f), P McNeice 0-3 (3f), K Coney 0-2, N Sludden, P Harte, M Donnelly, N McKenna 0-1 each. Down: P Devlin 1-3 (0-2f), D Savage, R Brady, P McPolin, B O'Reilly (f), A McArdle, G McAnulty, P Boyle 0-1 each.

Tyrone -- N Morgan; R Pickering, R McNamee, F McQuaid; N Sludden, G Teague, S McKenna; N McKenna, R Donnelly; P McNeice, P Harte, S McGuigan; K Coney, M Donnelly, R O'Neill. Subs: C Girvan for Teague, T McCann for S McKenna, J McCullagh for Girvan, S Warnock for R Donnelly.

Down -- C Heaney; A Brannigan, M Higgins, K Quinn; P Boyle, G McAnulty, D McKibben; A McArdle, C Poland; B O'Reilly, P McPolin, P Devlin; D Savage, C Harrison, R Brady. Subs: C Clarke for Brady, N McParland for McAnulty, Ryan O'Hare for Harrison, Donal O'Hare for Savage, A McConville for O'Reilly.

Ref -- B Cassidy (Derry)

Irish Independent

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