Extra-time, a shock result, and a penalty shoot-out brought drama to the Ulster U20 Football Championship as four ties went to the wire.
Defending champions Tyrone needed extra-time to get over a gripping clash with Armagh at the Athletic Grounds, where they chiselled out a 1-9 to 0-8 win. The Orchard side, playing into the gusting wind, picked off superb points in the opening quarter through Eoin Woods and Justin Kierans but scores from Tiarnan Quinn (2) and Matthew Murnaghan had Tyrone level at the break (0-3 to 0-3). But a straight red card to defender Ryan Jones just before the interval reduced Tyrone to 14 men.
Armagh took advantage with two superb points from skipper Justin Kierans and a Donal Conlon effort to take a three points lead, but the introduction of Darragh Canavan added a spark to the Tyrone attack. Quinn grabbed a fortuitous 50th minute goal, his long range effort from distance dipped in the wind deceiving ‘keeper Shea Magill, to give his side the lead for the first time. Cian McConville and Quinn traded late scores, before James McCormack brought the hosts level on 0-8 to 1-5 deep into injury-time. Tyrone, restored to 15 players, dominated extra-time, out-scoring their opponents by 0-4 to no score, with Quinn, Neil Kilpatrick, Antoin Fox and Conor Quinn all firing over points.
Donegal goalkeeper Ronan McGeehin was the late hero as he saved three times in a penalty shoot-out to help his side past Monaghan at Ballyshannon. Aaron Doherty and Ethan Harkin grabbed goals for the home side, with Gary Mohan netting for the Farney county, and at the end of normal time, it was level, 2-8 to 1-11. In extra-time, Jason Irwin edged Monaghan ahead, but Doherty brought the sides level at 2-9 to 1-12, and the shoot-out went Donegal’s way, 3-1.
Down finished strongly at Kingspan Breffni to get the better of Cavan by 1-11 to 0-8. The Mourne men led 0-7 to 0-6 at the break, with Dean Rice, Cathal Gorman and Shealan Johnston on target. Points from Cormac O’Reilly, Paddy Lynch and Eoghan Byrne edged Cavan in front, but a late scrambled goal swung it back in Down’s favour, with Johnston pushing them towards the finish line.
Antrim shocked Derry with a 1-9 to 2-4 win at the Dub. The Oak Leafers struck for two early goals through Conleth McShane and Jude McAtamney, but an Adam Loughran strike helped the Saffrons reach the break with a 1-6 to 2-1 advantage.
Target man Pat Shivers excelled in executing the advance mark, hitting five points, while Peter Henvey slotted a couple of scores as the home side defended their lead to emerge with a two points success. Tyrone will face Antrim while Donegal will take on Down in next weekend's semi-finals.