Down 2-11 Derry 0-9
Down collected the Danny Murphy Cup for the second time in three seasons against Derry in Wednesday night’s Ulster Under-20 final at the Athletic Grounds.
The finish was majestic and not forthcoming, with Down in black and Derry in white the final was a chess match until it wasn’t. A Odhran Murdock goal in the 51st minute was the first time the winners held the lead in the entire contest. After that pieces were scattered all over the board.
Conor Laverty’s side had relied on Oisín Savage to remain in the contest. The lethal finisher landed eight of Down’s tally but it was the Loughinisland forward’s ability to take the game to the young Oak Leafers when the showpiece looked to be getting away from the Mourne men that was most impressive.
A mark taken and finished against the run of Derry’s excellent first half play highlighted his determined nature on the night. Charlie Diamond was stylishly punishing Down at the other end with swirling left footed efforts to leave it 0-6 to 0-4 at the turn.
In the second half, Savage signalled his intent with a brace of frees he won himself to level. Derry charged back but Mark Doherty’s point would be their last after 42 minutes. At that stage the score was 0-9 to 0-6 in Derry’s favour, but they were outscored 2-5 to no score thereafter.
Savage teed up the finale, slotting some tricky frees, Murdock then scored their first goal before hugely talented Glenavon soccer player Jamie Doran came off the bench to close the game out.
DOWN: O Treacy; F McAvoy, P McCarthy, F Murdock; T Hardy, R Magill, J Kelly; O Murdock (1-1), T McCarroll; T Ryan, O Cunningham, H Magill; O Savage (0-8, five frees, one mark), J Morgan, C Rodgers (0-1). Subs: J Doran (1-1) for Ryan (23 mins), C Cunningham for R Magill (HT), C Greene for McCarroll (55), E Loughran for Savage (58), S Carr for O Cunningham (59).
DERRY: B O’Connor; P McGurk, J Murray; J McDermott (0-1); L Brady, D Gilmore, R Forbes; M Doherty (0-2), D Higgins; P O’Kane; P McCullagh (0-1), N O’Donnell (0-1); R Ó Mianáin; M Downey (0-1 free), C Diamond (0-3, two frees). Subs: C Downey for Ó Mianáin (44 mins), S Deehan for O’Kane (54), N McGonagle for Doherty (59).
Referee: Patrick Clarke (Cavan)