Roscommon U20’s defeated by Tyrone

May 13th, 2024

EirGrid All-Ireland U20 Football Championship Semi-Final

Tyrone 3-18 Roscommon 3-8

By Kevin Egan at Kingspan Breffni

Yet again, the Eirgrid U-20 championship delivered a contest of the highest quality this evening at Kingspan Breffni, where Tyrone secured their place in next weekend’s All-Ireland final at Roscommon’s expense thanks to a sumptuous attacking display.

The final margin of 10 points would suggest a one-sided contest, but this wasn’t. Roscommon threw all that they had at the Ulster champions, and when they fired two goals in quick succession at the start of the second half, the crowd was rocking at it looked like the upset might be on.

Instead, Tyrone roared back into the game after steadying the ship with two long range dead ball scores from Conor McAneney, and once Eoin McElholm crowned his stylish all-round attacking display with a fantastic breakaway goal, the Red Hand man were in control again.

Cormac Devlin fired a couple of points with substitutes Noah Grimes and Conor Owens also adding their names to the lengthy list of scorers, bringing that number up to 11.

The only black mark from their perspective was a stoppage time skirmish that saw substitute Ruairí McHugh, as well as Senan Lambe and Ryan Dowling from Roscommon, pick up a straight red card, ruling him out of next weekend’s All-Ireland final against Kerry.

The story of both halves was a story of Roscommon starting brightly, but Tyrone responding in the manner of champions. Shane McGinley, who had been the star name in the Connacht champions’ attack throughout the year, kicked off the contest with a wonderful goal in reply to Shea O’Hare’s opening point.

With six minutes gone there were six scores on the board, and Tyrone had drawn level after Ronan Cassidy and then a brace from Ruairí McCullagh cancelled out McGinley’s goal.

From the first throw in, Tyrone looked to push up and defend high up the pitch, and they got a lot of joy out of this approach. Midfielders Ronan Fox and Conor O’Neill were strong in the air, allowing Paul Devlin’s side to really push up on kickouts, and this also brought wing backs Shea O’Hare and Ódhrán Brolly into the game.

A scything run from Joey Clark set up O’Neill for Tyrone’s first goal, and while Roscommon did undo some of that damage with the next two points, including a fine score on the run from Rob Heneghan, Tyrone hit another purple patch before half time, crowned by an excellent team goal that O’Hare slammed to the net.

Seven down at half-time, Roscommon found another huge start to the second half and after the first two points were shared, quickfire goals from Conor Ryan and Bobby Nugent brought them right back into it.

However, a couple of very scorable chances to surf the wave and get in front proved costly, and once Tyrone hit another rich vein of form, they never looked back.

Goalkeeper Conor McAneney got Tyrone out of their mini-funk with a couple of excellent long range kicks, and almost in the blink of an eye, they were out of sight.

A clinical fast break saw Conor O’Neill carry the ball out of defence and once the ball was worked into Eoin McElholm, the Loughmacrory attacker executed a slick turn and a perfect low finish to leave Roscommon in a deep hole once again – and this time, the Ulster county were in no mood to allow them to escape.

Scorers for Tyrone: Eoin McElholm 1-2, Conor O’Neill 1-1, Shea O’Hare 1-1, Ruairí McCullagh 0-3, Ronan Cassidy 0-3 (1f), Conor McAneney 0-2 (1f, 1 45), Cormac Devlin 0-2, Odhrán Brolly 0-1, Ronan Fox 0-1, Noah Grimes 0-1, Conor Owens 0-1f.

Scorers for Roscommon: Shane McGinley 1-5 (3fs), Bobby Nugent 1-1, Conor Ryan 1-0, Dan Hagney 0-1, Rob Heneghan 0-1.

Tyrone: Conor McAneney; Conor Devlin, Ben Hughes, Joey Clarke; Shea O’Hare, Michael Rafferty, Ódhrán Brolly; Ronan Fox, Conor O’Neill; Cormac Devlin, Callum Daly, Gavin Potter; Ronan Cassidy, Ruairí McCullagh, Eoin McElholm.

Subs: Fiachra Nelis for Brolly (half-time), Ruairí McHugh for Devlin (41), Paddy McCann for Fox (52), Noah Grimes for Cassidy (56), Conor Owens for McCullagh (58).

Roscommon: Seán Allen; Eoghan Carthy, James Connolly, Dan Casey; Senan Lambe, Eden Kerins, James McGreal; Conor Harley, Conor Ryan; Rob Heneghan, Rory Hester, Dan Hagney; Shane McGinley, Niall O’Donnell, Bobby Nugent.

Subs: Ryan Dowling for Heneghan (30), Cillian Campbell for Carthy (half-time), Ethan O’Reilly for Hester (half-time), Ryan Conlon for Hagney (45), Oisín O’Flaherty for McGreal (54).

Referee: Jonathan Hayes (Limerick).

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