U21 champions Tyrone progress

Ulster and All-Ireland U21 FC champions Tyrone had a successful first defence of their titles last night, beating Cavan 2-10 to 0-10 at Kingspan Breffni Park.

U21 champions Tyrone progress

Second-half goals from Colm Byrne and Ben McDonnell booked their place in the provincial semi-final against Donegal, a repeat of last year’s Ulster final.

A free from Stephen McBrearty in the fifth minute of injury-time saw Donegal edge an ill-tempered clash with Derry 0-14 to 2-7 in Ballybofey.

Armagh hammered Down 5-16 to 0-9 in Newry to set up a last-four game with Monaghan, who thrashed Fermanagh 1-15 to 0-3. Both semi-finals will be played on March 30.

After a ropey start, Tyrone senior Cathal McShane dragged his team back into the game with four points in the opening half.

Cavan took an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead including two frees from goalkeeper Liam Brady but McShane’s fourth point in the 28th minute put the visitors ahead for the first time and led 0-6 to 0-5 at the break. Colm Byrne’s classy finish put clear daylight between the sides before McDonnell’s fisted goal clinched victory at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Donegal edged a bad-tempered affair with Derry, with McBrearty nailing a last gasp free. The home side were well in control, leading 0-9 to 0-3 at the break, and Derry still trailed 0-11 to 0-5 in Ballybofey before Niall Loughlin’s goal brought them back into contention.

In a dramatic finish, the game looked set to go to extra-time when Niall Toner cancelled out McBrearty’s free, but the latter nailed another last gasp free to clinch a win for Donegal.

Armagh produced arguably the most eye-catching performance of the night, justifying their billing as one of the favourites for provincial honours this year.

They had the game wrapped up inside 20 minutes, with goals from Cathal McKenna and Shane McPartlan giving them a 2-7 to 0-1 lead.

McPartlan, who was later sent off for two bookings, then added a third with a far-post finish giving them a 3-7 to 0-3 interval lead.

Down failed to score from play in the opening half with Conor Doyle’s three placed balls all they had to show for their efforts.

It was the free-scoring duo of McPartlan and McKenna who wreaked havoc up front, scoring 2-6 between them in the opening half hour’s play.

Crossmaglen star Oisin O’Neill kicked 1-6 from midfield as Armagh thrashed Down.

Cathal McKenna and Shane McPartlan starred up front, kicking 1-5 and 2-3 respectively, while Conor Martin also weighed in with 1-3 in an impressive orchard display.

Barry McGinn scored the only goal as Monaghan hammered Fermanagh 1-15 to 0-3 in Inniskeen to set up a last-four showdown with Armagh.

Monaghan led Fermanagh 0-5 to no 0-0, Conor McCarthy with three points, in Iniskeen, but the Erne men hit back with senior player Paddy Reihill among the scorers as they reduced the deficit to 0-5 to 0-3 at half time.

Eoin McManus was sent off for Fermanagh early in the second-half and their challenge faded.

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