Niall Devlin captained Tyrone to EirGrid All Ireland U20 glory on Saturday.
Niall Devlin captained Tyrone to EirGrid All Ireland U20 glory on Saturday.

EirGrid U20 Final: Impressive Tyrone triumph


EirGrid All Ireland Under 20 Football Final

Tyrone 1-20 Kildare 1-14

By Ger McNally at Avant Money Páirc Sean MacDiarmada

Ruairí Canavan scored 1-7 as Tyrone beat Kildare at Carrick On Shannon to lift their first All-Ireland title as this grade since they won at U21 level in 2015.

Canavan struck the game’s opening goal after less than 20 seconds and really came to the fore in the final quarter as he exploited the gaps left by Kildare as they chased the game.

In a blistering opening period, Kildare responded to Canavan’s goal with a major of their own when a when less than a minute a well worked move ended with Eoin Bagnall fisting across the goal to leave Daniel Lynam with a simple tap in.

Ciarán Bogue and Dan Muldonn clipped over nice scores for the Ulster side but Kildare enjoyed their best spell of the game midway through the half.

Niall O’Regan, Dean O’Donoghue and Bagnall scored consecutive points to put them ahead for the only time in the game at 1-4 to 1-3.

What followed was the key period of the game. Tyrone rattled off five points in a row to move four points clear as Kildare found their attacking wing-backs, James Donaghy and Niall Devlin particularly causing problems.

With the half time score at 1-9 to 1-5, Kildare need to eat into that lead early in the second half but instead, Canavan scored the first point after the restart.

Aaron Browne, Kildare, and Ciarán Daly, Tyrone, in action during the EirGrid All Ireland U20 Final.
Aaron Browne, Kildare, and Ciarán Daly, Tyrone, in action during the EirGrid All Ireland U20 Final.

Tyrone were intelligent in the way that they managed the game after game, defending well in numbers but always carrying a big threat on the counter attack.

They had a wide array of scorers too, Devlin scored his third of the game and then midfielder Ruarí McHugh landed a huge booming effort from the 45.

Kildare’s hectic schedule of a fifth championship game in little over four weeks began to tell in the final quarter and they had a number of players go down with cramp. One of those was the man charged with marking Canavan, Harry O’Neill, and once he departed the mercurial Tyrone forward enjoyed the spaces left.

After there were just six scores in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, there 14 in the last ten minutes plus five minutes added on.

Canavan scored five of those and was named man of the match at the final whistle but he was far from on his own. Captain Devlin was superb from the wing back position while McGleenan was a huge presence around the middle third.

Ultimately, it was Tyrone’s shooting efficiency that was the difference and they ended the game with 11 different scorers.

Scorers for Tyrone: R Canavan 1-7 (3fs), N Devlin 0-3, C Daly 0-2, G Potter 0-1, L Donnelly 0-1, M McGleenan 0-1, R McHugh 0-1, J Donaghy 0-1, C Cush 0-1, D Muldoon 0-1, C Bogue 0-1.

Scorers for Kildare: E Bagnall 0-5 (4fs), L Killian 0-3, D Lynam 1-0, N O’Regan 0-2, A Fanning 0-1, D O’Donoghue 0-1, D Swords 0-1, T Gill 0-1.

TYRONE: Stephen McMenamin; Michael Rafferty, Brian Conway, Eoin Corry, James Donaghy, Steve Donaghy, Niall Devlin; Ruairí McHugh, Ciarán Daly; Conor Cush, Ciarán Bogue, Ruairí Canavan, Seán O’Donnell, Michael McGleenan, Dan Muldoon.

Subs: Gavin Potter for Muldoon, 48; Fionnbharr Taggert for O’Donnell, 53; Shea Daly for Bogue, 60; Luke Donnelly for Cush, 60.

KILDARE: Cormac Barker; Harry O’Neill, Dean O’Donoghue, Mark Maguire, Tommy Gil, James McGrath, Ryan Burke; Brendan Gibbons, Luke Killian; Niall O’Regan, Daniel Lynam, Shane Farrell, Aaron Browne, Adam Fanning, Eoin Bagnall.

Subs: Darragh Swords for Lynam, 37; Jack McKevitt for Gibbons, 39; James Dalton for Browne, 42; Aedan Boyle for O’Neill, 53; Adam Conneely for O’Regan, 57.

REFEREE: Liam Devenney (Mayo).