Tue 5th May
Tyrone ended a fourteen year wait for their fifth All Ireland U21 title when they won a pulsating encounter with Munster champions Tipperary at Parnell Park in Dublin on Saturday evening.
It was a contest that flowed one way and then the other with midfielder Cathal McShane’s goal in the end ultimately proving to be the difference between the two sides. Tyrone had the wind at their backs in the first half but it was Tipperary who led 0-7 to 0-5 at the break. The Ulster champions should have had their noses in front however but they left their shooting boots behind them with an alarming ten first half wides compared to their opponents three.
The decision making wasn’t good from the Red Hands whereas at the other end of the field the Munster champions were clinical every time they went forward. Tipperary opened the scoring inside sixty seconds from a Kevin O’Halloran free before they doubled their advantage in the sixth minute with a fine effort from distance from centre half forward Ian Fahey.
Tyrone had already kicked four wides by the time Mark Bradley opened their account in the eighth minute, the corner forward a late starter in place of Ruairi McGlone. Conor Meyler then levelled matters with a superb point with his weaker right foot after going past three challenges but the Munster champions wasted no time in responding.
Full forward Josh Keane edged them in front before Bradley made it 0-3 apiece after eighteen minutes with another score with his trusty left boot. Keane then landed a superb effort from forty metres out before O’Halloran left two between the sides when he converted a free off the ground. Corner back Michael Cassidy then ventured forward to hit an inspirational point for Tyrone from all of forty seven metres out but they also continued to miss chances.
Defender Bill Maher then got his name on the score sheet for the Munster champions before O’Halloran got his third of the half and his first from play. It was Tyrone though who had the final say of the half from a Danny McNulty free with the last kick after he had been fouled himself.
A Lee Brennan free closed the gap in the first attack of the second half but Tipperary responded straight away with a placed ball from O’Halloran. Substitute Ruairi McGlone then had a great goal chance after being brilliantly picked out by Bradley but he fired narrowly wide of the target.
Mark Kavanagh and O’Halloran exchanged points before another Brennan free levelled matters. A long range O’Halloran free edged Tipperary back in front before the same player scored from play to leave two between the sides.
With twelve minutes to go the crucial score in the game arrived when good approach play from Kavanagh released McShane and he smashed the ball to the net past keeper Evan Comerford. A McNulty free then put Tyrone two in front before Kavanagh left three between them with only two minutes of normal time left on the clock.
Tipperary though weren’t finished yet and a superb brace from team Captain Colin O’Riordan left only the minimum between the sides. As the game slipped into injury time Tipperary piled on the pressure but Tyrone held firm despite losing corner back Michael Cassidy to a second yellow card as they were deservedly crowned All Ireland champions.
Tyrone – S Fox, R Mullan, P Hampsey, M Cassidy (0-1), C McLaughlin, R Brennan, K McGeary, F Burns, C McShane (1-0), C Meyler (0-1), M Kavanagh (0-2), M Walsh, L Brennan (0-2,2f), D McNulty (0-3,3f), M Bradley (0-2). Subs – R McGlone for Walsh, R Kelly for McShane, P McKenna for L Brennan
Tipperary – E Comerford, K Fahey, J Feehan, C O’Shaughnessy, R Mulcahy, L Boland, B Maher (0-1), S O’Brien, C O’Riordan (0-2,2f), L Lonergan, I Fahey (0-1), L Casey, K O’Halloran (0-6, 5f), J Keane (0-3,1f), P Maher. Sub – J McGrath for P Maher
Referee – F Kelly, Longford
Tue 5th May