Cavan 1-10 Tyrone 0-10
There may be rumblings of discontent within their senior camp, but the future fot football in the Breffni county looks bright, after they picked up their second successive Ulster U21 crown, and only their fourth in all.
In front of a crowd of 5,500 at Brewster Park, Cavan repeated their victory over Tyrone in last year’s final, and this one was equally deserved.
After getting a massive boost with an early goal, the defending champions defeneded their lead superbly, closing out their opponents with a battling display laced with passion and courage.
Cavan had the ball in the net in less than a minute, Darragh Sexton netting a penalty after Chris Conroy had been fouled.
Richard Donnelly and Darren McCurry both converted frees as the Red Hands played their way into the game.
Tyrone finally drew level midway through the half, when Harry Og Conlan fired over a point.
Cavan’s ploy of targeting full forward Kevin Tierney with long ball reaped indirect rewards when Tierney converted a couple of frees to put this side a point ahead 10 minutes before half-time.
Tierney’s third free in the 25th minute opened up a two points gap, and with Packie Leddy helping them win possession at midfield, the reigning champions continued to press forward
Tyrone survived a couple of anxious moments, however, and a Donnelly free narrowed the gap to a point, before Jack Brady tapped over a simple free to send Cavan in with a 1-4 to 0-5 interval lead.
They stretched the advantage with scores from Tierney and Joe Dillon, and their tenacity and passion prevented Tyrone from achieving any fluency.
Leddy and Killian Clarke provided the platform at midfield, and when Jack Brady clipped over a point, they led by four.
Tyrone corner back Barry Tierney pulled back a raiding point, but his namesake continued to hit the target at the other end, notching his fifth free.
Jason McLoughlin and skipper Michael Brady performed heroics at the back as Cavan repeatedly frustrated their opponents.
McCurry did pull back a free, but Raymond Lynch’s superb score sent the holders into the final 10 minutes with a four points lead, 1-9 to 0-8
Brady made it a five point game, and with Killian Clarke and Conor Moynagh putting their bodies on the line in a heroic defensive effort, they held on, with Tyrone claiming points through Niall Sludden and Tommy Canavan in the dying moments.
Cavan: C Gilsenan, F Flanagan, K Brady, J McLoughlin, D Sexton (1-0, pen), C Moynagh, M Brady, P Leddy, K Clarke, J Dillon (0-1, C Conroy, R Lynch (0-1), J Brady (0-3, 2f), K Tierney (0-5, 5f), N O’Donnell.
Subs: P King for Brady, B Reilly for Dillon, S Nolan for Conroy, PP O’Hara for Reilly
Tyrone: D McAnenly, B Tierney (0-1), D McNally, HP McGeary, N Sludden (0-1), C Clarke, T McCann, H Og Conlan (0-1), S Warnock, S Tierney (0-1), T Canavan (0-1, f), R Donnelly (0-2, 2f), D McCurry (0-3, 3f), C McAliskey, C Daly.
Subs: P Mallon for McCann, S McGuigan for Warnock, C Grugan for Conlan, P McNulty for Donnelly, J McCullagh for Daly
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).