Ulster MFC: Three tight finishes as semi-final lineup confirmed
Electric Ireland Ulster MFC quarter-final results
FERMANAGH 1-12 CAVAN 1-11
DONEGAL 1-9 MONAGHAN 0-10
ARMAGH 0-12 DERRY 0-11
TYRONE 3-16 DOWN 0-9
There were incredibly tight finishes in three of the four quarter-finals of the Electric Ireland Ulster minor football championship tonight, with only Tyrone able to breathe easily in the latter stages of their fixture on a great night of action.
Cavan started and finished strongly on their home field of Kingspan Breffni Park, but in between they struggled to compete with a very good Fermanagh side.
Five different Cavan players got on the scoresheet in the first quarter as they moved 0-6 to 0-1 ahead of the Erne County, with Fermanagh goalkeeper Jamie Ray called upon to prevent Cavan pushing the gap out to eight. That save seemed to be the catalyst for a Fermanagh revival, and they drew level through Caoilte Farry, Cian O’Brien and Diarmuid Owens, before Cavan sneaked a point from corner back Oliver McCrystal to take a narrow interval lead.
That lead was pushed out to two before Fermanagh hit their purple patch, Cian O’Brien hitting the net in between four points from Farry and another from Donnacha Morris to make it 1-11 to 0-8 at the three quarter mark.
The sides traded points before Cavan hit a late 1-1 through Darragh Lovett, his goal from the penalty spot, and the home side won one last possession but couldn’t set up the scoring chance they craved to set up extra time.
All-Ireland champions Derry failed in their bid to retain their Ulster title as they were squeezed out by Armagh at Owenbeg, 0-12 to 0-11. Jack McGroarty shot two points from wing back as Derry took an 0-8 to 0-5 interval lead, and that gap was the same at the three quarter mark.
Armagh came with a late surge however, firing five of the six points in the final quarter including Callum O’Neill’s winning score right on the edge of full-time.
An early goal from a Luke McGlynn penalty was the difference between two very closely-matched sides at the beginning and the end of the contest in Clones, with Donegal the 1-9 to 0-10 winners at the death. A red card for Ethan Friel was a blow to Donegal and Stephen Mooney was a constant threat for Monaghan, kicking seven points (four from play), but three points from substitutes Michael Callaghan and Gary Kelly proved crucial for Donegal.
The contest between Tyrone and Down at Healy Park was the exception to all the rules as it was comparatively comfortable, and it was the only home win of the night. Gary Potter found the Down net after seven minutes, Shea O’Hare slammed in a second after 20 when Cathal Kinsella saved a penalty but the rebound fell kindly into O’Hare’s path, and while Down rallied before half time to make it 2-5 to 0-5, the second half was one-sided. Captain Cormac Devlin shot seven points while Ruairí McHugh added the last goal in a 16-point win.
The semi-finals will take place in a little over a week, with Armagh taking on Donegal at Healy Park on Friday August 6, while the following evening the same venue will host the clash of Tyrone and Fermanagh.