Five goal Derry defeat Armagh in Ulster U20 Championship thriller

Derry under 20 manager Mickey Donnelly.
Derry under 20 manager Mickey Donnelly.

Eirgrid Ulster U20 Football Championship

Derry 5-12, Armagh 2-13

Reigning champions Derry turned around a 10-point second half deficit to shock Armagh in an Ulster Under 20 Championship thriller that saw seven goals in the final half hour.

Derry looked dead and buried when Cian McConville and the impressive Conor Turbit hit two goals in 60 seconds to put the Orchard County 2-10 to 0-06 up nine minutes after half-time.

With Ben McCarron and Oisin McWilliams having been forced off injured, things looked grim for the home side but Armagh's brace of goals was answered by three in four minutes for a rejuvenated Derry as 'Man of the Match' Paul Cassidy, Lorcan McWilliams and substitute Keelan Friel all hit the net.

With the momentum well and truly swung, Derry went for the jugular with late goals from Padraig McGrogan and Ethan Doherty capping a remarkable fightback and setting up a semi-final against Fermanagh who defeated Donegal by two points.

Derry lined out with Lorcan McWilliams and Paul Cassidy inside with Fintan Bradley playing the sweeping role and the home side got off to a perfect start with a brace of points inside the opening minute as Ben McCarron (free) and Cassidy split the posts for Mickey Donnelly's team.

Armagh also saw Ciaran Cosgrove booked inside the opening 60 seconds for a foul on McCarron but if Derry's lightning start had phased the Orchard men, they weren't showing it as Niall McCorry superb long range point got them on the scoreboard before the second minute had elapsed.

Derry were bossing possession but where the Oak Leafers were wasteful with nine first half wides, Armagh's efficiency brought eight points from 10 first half shots.

Lorcan McWilliams and the impressive Conor Turbit swapped scores before Niall McGuinness' driving run and point brought the visitors level when he could have gone for goal.

Indeed, Turbit's second point seconds later to edge them 0-4 to 0-3 up could also have been a major with a bit more ambition but the Armagh forwards were carving openings in the home defence.

McCarron, who hit a hat-trick for the Derry senior team in this season's McKenna Cup victory over Fermanagh, looked dangerous every time he received the ball and levelled following some breathtaking acceleration but too often he picking up ball inside his own half.

It was McCarron who engineered Derry's beat goal chance when his pass sent Padraig McGrogan clear. The Newbridge player, coming in at an angle, tried to roll a low finish under Conor Larkin but the Armagh keeper got a foot to it to divert it inches wide of the post.

A Turbit free put Armagh a point up but Orchard hopes were dealt a blow when captain Sean McCarthy was black carded on 16 minutes.

Despite the setback, Peter McDonald's team remained in charge as late scores from Tiernan Kelly, Cosgrove and Turbit again gave the a fully deserved 0-8 to 0-5 interval lead.

Derry's fortunes didn't improve upon the restart as Oisin McWilliams pulled up with a hamstring injury and half-time Armagh substitute Eoin McConvilled stretched the visitors' lead to four at 0-9.

McCarron brought the deficit back with a lovely struck free but within seconds Turbit had restored the four point advantage with his fifth point of the day, his fourth from play.

Then the flood gates opened with those five goals in six minutes, Derry looking dead and buried before the remarkable turn around brought them back to within a point at 3-06 to 2-10.

Cassidy levelled before Lorcan McWilliams (free) and Conleth McShane had Derry two points up but Armagh refused to lie down, bridging the gap once more thanks to points from Turbit and Tiernan Kelly.

The killer blow was Derry's fourth goal which arrived with four minutes remaining, McGrogan charging through on the end of a flowing Oak Leaf move to score at the second attempt.

Armagh were never out of it but with the clock against them, they were forced to throw caution to the wind but found Derry in no mood to surrender their hard fought lead with Doherty's capping a memorable game for Donnelly's.

Just as they had in last year's semi-final against Down, Derry had wiped out a 10-point deficit and won a thriller.

Derry scorers: Paul Cassidy (1-4), Lorcan McWilliams (1-2, 1f), Keelan Friel (1-0), Paudie McGrogan (1-0), Ethan Doherty (1-0), Ben McCarron (0-3, 1f), Declan Cassidy (0-1), Conleth McShane (0-1), Iarlaith Donaghy (0-1, 1f)

Armagh scorers: Conor Turbit (1-6, 3f), Cian McConville (1-1, 1f), Niall McCorry (0-1), Niall McGuinness (0-1), Tiernan Kelly (0-2), Ciaran Cosgrove (0-1), Eoin McConville (0-1),

Derry: Oran Hartin; Oran McGill, Conor McCluskey, Sean McKeever; Declan Cassidy, Padriag McGrogan, Fintan Bradley; Dara Rafferty, Jude McAtamney; Ben McCarron, Oisin McWilliams, Simon McErlain; Lorcan McWilliams, Mark McGrogan, Paul Cassidy.

(Subs) Ethan Doherty for L McWilliams, 34mins; Conleth McShane for B McCarron (inj), 38mins; Keelan Friel for J McAtamney, 41mins; Tiarnan McHugh for D Cassidy, 57mins; Ialaith Donaghy for P McGrogan, 62mins;

Wides: 9/5

Armagh: Conor Larkin; Conor McGuinness, Paul Martin, Sam McClarnon; Ciaran Cosgrove, Ciaran Doyle, Rioghann Meehan; Cormac Smyth, Tiernan Kelly; Niall McGuinness, Conor Turbit, Ronan McGuinness; Cian McConville, Niall McCorry, Sean McCarthy.

(Subs) Thomas McCormack for S McCarthy (Black Card), 17mins; Jack Molloy for S McLarnon, 20mins; Eoin McConville for R Meehan, HT; Louis Hughes for N McCorry, 49mins; Odhran Magill for R McGuinness, 50mins; Ronan Mallon for J Molloy, 53mins;

Wides: 2/1

Yellows Card; C Cosgrove, 1mins; Black Card: S McCathy, 16mins;

Referee: Darren O'Hare (Down)