Down Minors need back door.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

DOWN Minors will need the backdoor if they are to get to an Ulster Final in 2018.

DOWN ...0-09
TYRONE ...2-14

On Saturday evening in this second round Ulster Championship tie at a sunny Pairc Esler visitors Tyrone put the home side to the sword.

Though it must be said that the Mourne youngsters played most of the second half with 14 players after referee James Lewis handed a second yellow card (and then a red one) to key man Justin Clarke on 38 minutes.

At that stage Down were getting back into the game after a poor first half but the dismissal concluded any faint hopes they had of beating the Red Hands.

And indeed as the half wore on Tyrone became stronger and in the end finished up with a comfortable eight-point victory margin - and a place in the semi-finals.

Manager James McCartan agreed that the best team won as he said after the match: "Tyrone were the better team. They took their goal chances and that was the difference. Though we were a bit disappointed at the scoreline at the end and I felt it wasn't a fair reflection on the game.

"We maybe paid Tyrone too much respect in the first half and we tried to go for it in the second. We were clawing our way back and obviously the sending off was disappointing but Justy should have been a bit cuter.

He knew he was on a yellow card and was warned but I didn't see what he actually did to get the second booking.

It was unfortunate but an extra man was a big disadvantage for 16-year-olds on a big pitch." Still Down got the first score on the board when on two minutes Tom Close pointed with a fine long-range drive.

But Tyrone replied emphatically, Daniel Fullerton scoring with a free and then on seven minutes the visitors hit the back of the Down net with a stunning effort.

Full forward Mark Hayes hared through the heart of the Mourne defence, leaving four men trailing in his wake, before finding the bottom corner with a 15-yard drive.

And in the next ten minutes the Red Hands pointed twice more without reply, Oran Mulgrew and Tarlach Quinn doing the damage.

The home side pulled one back on 21 minutes when Justin Clarke knocked over a free.

Approaching the break Futterton pointed at one end with Sheelan Johnston doing likewise at the other for Down. The Kilcoo youngster did brilliantly down the right flank taking on his man and then pointing with an accurate left footer from fully 25 yards.

The half ended with Fullerton (from a freekick) giving Tyrone a five-point interval advantage.

On the resumption Down had their best spell of the game when Clarke hit a fine point on the run and then Johnston narrowed the gap to just one kick of the ball when he pointed with a free.

At that stage the Mourne lads had their tails up and were looking dangerous but then on 38 minutes came that Clarke red card. And a minute later the visitors added their initial score of the second half via Michael McGleenan.

Still despite playing with a man down, the home side matched Tyrone score-for-score for the next 15 minutes. And in fact but for a fine save from Red Hand keeper Mark McGale on 41 minutes Down's Ryan Connolly would have narrowed the gap to just a single point.

Still Tom Smyth hit over a neat Mourne point with the excellent Sheelan Johnston twice knocking over frees.

Tyrone replied with scores from Mark Hayes and Daniel Fullerton (2).

And even with four minutes of normal time left Down were still in with a slight chance - that was until Tyrone's chief marksman Fullerton raced clear before firing low in the corner of the net past a helpless Down keeper Dean Sheridan.

That goal put seven points between the teams and although in the five minutes of time-added-on Johnston did pull one back, Tyrone added two more through Fullerton and Ronan Duffin.

James McCartan finished by saying: "I felt that even with just 14 men that last goal was a bit cruel to us.

"We seemed to have to work harder for our scores.

We would have to pressurise for maybe two or three minutes to get a score and they would nick one immediately afterwards. It was deflating at times.

"But I want to give credit to our guys. They kept plugging away and I'm very happy with the shift they put in. Though we probably didn't keep the scoreboard ticking enough in both this game and the last one.

We have some good forwards so it's a bit of a conundrum for us, trying to get the ball over the bar and get a scoreline that's going to win matches," concluded the Down boss.

Down: Dean Sheridan, Darragh Fegan Lorcan Toal, Rowan Tumilty, Laurence Brannigan, Gareth Fitzpatrick, Peter McMullen, Matthew Cunningham, Anthony Morgan, Sean Campbell, Justin Clarke (0-2), Tom Close (0-1), Sheelan Johnston (0-5), Ryan Connolly, Tom Smyth (0-1)

Subs: Brandon Boyd for McMullen: 40), John McGovern for Tumilty (45), Andrew Gilmore for Campbell (52), Paul Quinn for Morgan (56).

Tyrone: Mark McGale, Cormac Quinn, Lorcan McBride, Lorcan Kilpatrick, Ronan Duffin (0-1), Kevin Barker, Oisin McHugh, Tarlach Quinn (0-1), Michael McGleenan (0-1), Ben Brogan, Oran Mulgrew (0-1), Cormac McBride, Daniel Fullerton (1-5), Mark Hayes (1-1), Tiernan Mackle

Subs: Conall Devlin for McBride (24), Mark Devlin for Groogan (40), Stephen Grogan (0-1) for Mackle (46), Conor Quinn for McHugh (53), Paddy McCallan for McBride (57).


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