Orchard Minors lose out to Oak Leafers

Armagh 1-7 Derry 0-12

The Armagh Minors suffered a two-point defeat to Derry in the Ulster Championship final at Healy Park Omagh. Aidan O’Rourke’s young troops gave a good account of themselves, but Derry always had their noses ahead.

A first half goal helped Armagh remain in touching distance of the reigning Ulster and All-Ireland champions, but the Oak Leaf County held the lead right throughout the second half.

Armagh lost out to this same side just three weeks ago in the final round of the group stages. 17-points separated the sides that day, and Armagh were fit to dwindle down that margin.

Eamon Young opened the scoring for the Derry Minors before Armagh replied through Eoin Duffy (free). The sides continued to trade scores, with Ger Dillon and Sean Woods cancelling each other out.

Young slotted over his second of the day with a free before a great score from Keelan McEntee brough Armagh back on level terms. Dillon popped over another from the dead ball while Armagh raised a green flag at the other end.

A long ball in from Ross Marsden was captured in the square by midfielder Jack Loughran. The Keady man shifted possession to Duffy, who cooly slipped the ball into the back of the Derry net.

The Oak Leafers replied instantly as Young fired over before Dillon split the posts to tie things up. Armagh lost Marsden to a black card just before the half as Derry nudged ahead through James Sargent to see them lead at the interval, 0-7 to 1-3.

Derry shot further ahead at the start of the second half with converted frees from Young and Dillon. Armagh responded ten minutes after the turnaround with Aaron Garvey getting his name on the scoresheet.

The Armagh Minors suffered a three-point defeat to Derry in the Ulster Championship final at Healy Park Omagh

Fionn Toale made it a one-point game, but a Luke Grant effort restored Derry’s two-point cushion once again. Dillon and Young extended their fine form in front of the posts as Derry stretched the gap to four. Duffy got the final two scores of the day, but it was Derry who retained their title.

Armagh just couldn’t get the goal that would have won the game although they gave it everything they had The Orchard Minors remain in the All-Ireland series, and they’ll take on Leinster champions Longford in the quarter-final. Their year is far from over and they’ll take heart from their performance.

Armagh: Michael Finnegan, Tomas Fox, Gavin O’Rourke, Conall Wilson, Fergus Toale, Sean Woods 0-1, Diarmaid O’Rourke, Jack Loughran, Daithi O’Callaghan, Aaron Garvey 0-1, James McCooe, Keelan McEntee 0-1, Fionn Toale 0-1, Eoin Duffy 1-3 (3f), Ross Marsden. Subs: Lewis Bellew for R. Marsden, Shea Lougran for A. Garvey, Oisin Gribben for D. O’Callaghan Conor Dunne for Sean Woods.

Derry: Jack McCloy, Caomhan McNally, Ronan Canavan, Rian Collins, Luke Grant 0-1, Cathal Ó Mianain, Dara McGuckin, James Sargent 0-1, Cathair McBride, Eamon Young 0-5 (2f), Ger Dillon 0-5 (2f), Caoimhe Hargan, Chris McCullagh, Ruairi Biggs, Dylan Rocks. Subs: Padraig Haran for C. McNally, Cody Rocks for C. Hargan, Turlough McHugh for C. McBride.