Orchard Erne U20 victory.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Orchard Erne U20 victory. thumbnailRIAN O'Neill scored 1-6 for Armagh on Friday night.

ARMAGH U20 manager Peter McDonnell was delighted with his sides win over Fermanagh on Friday, especially given the extremely serious disadvantage he said his side faced.

ARMAGH ...2-14

"I have to say that I am very pleased with that [Armagh's win] and I am very pleased because of the lack of preparation time we have had together," said McDonnell.

"It was extremely serious how we were disadvantaged by not having a regular training venue, by not having full access to our players, until only this last week."

Played in Brewster Park, Enniskillen, with the senior drubbing fresh in the memory, the Orchard buds looked a little nervy early and jittery handling and poor passing resulted.

Fermanagh on the other hand looked comfortable and composed early on as they adopted to their shape more quickly than Armagh.

Lorcan McStravick opened the scoring with a converted free to put Fermanagh ahead but the lively Shea Loye replied with a fine point and Crossmaglen's Rian O'Neill picked out the unmarked Ryan Jones who kicked the Orchard lads ahead with seven minutes gone.

Rian O'Neill kicked two frees wide before Fermanagh's Callum Jones drilled over a 35-metre side-line kick for a beautiful equaliser.

Both teams played with more bodies in defence than attack, but Fermanagh's support play was a phase ahead of Armagh's which left the Orchard attack outnumbered too often.

McStravick turned and pointed but Eoghan Mc- Donnell's left-footed strike levelled the game again.

Armagh were penalised for a short kick-out and Eoghan Curran pointed to give Fermanagh a 0-4 to 0-3 led but on 19 minutes Rian O'Neill lashed in a cracking goal.

It was a wonderfully slick passing move, which was started by the Crossmaglen man outside the D and he finished the four-man move into the net.

The goal lifted Armagh's spirits and players such as McDonnell impressed in midfield. Barry McCambridge, Cathair McGeary had the measure of their mean, while Ryan Owens, Shea Loye and Ross McQuillian started to press Fermanagh's rear-guard.

Conor Turbit extended Armagh's lead with a fine point following an excellent pass from Shea Loye and they could have gone further in front but over complicated moves in attack.

McStravick kicked over a 45-metre free but O'Neill replied with his close range conversion to make his goal the difference at the break as Fermanagh trailed 0-05 to 1-05 at half-time.

Two further frees from O'Neill stretched Armagh's lead but Eoghan Curran replied with a long-range point.

Armagh looked in control and allow the Fermanagh defence was excellent, they lacked punch up front as the Orchard back-lines were tidy and solid too.

Fermanagh were dealt a blow when McStravick was carried off and then Callum Jones limped off and Armagh grew in strength.

Turbit's goal on 40 minutes was on the end of a brilliant seven-man move, where the ball shifted at speed from the midfield to the left wing then across the right side of the goal and the Clann Eireann forward tucked his shot away in the bottom left corner.

Armagh's lead was 2-07 to 0-06 with 20 minutes remaining. Daragh McGurn and Eoghan Curran chipped in with points for the Erne lads but the Orchard lads finished strongly with McDonnell, substitutes Justin Kearns and Ronan McGuinness stroking over points and forwards O'Neill and Jason Duffy kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Armagh faces Tyrone in the Ulster semi-final on June 8, which is an evening before the senior All-Ireland Qualifiers.

While it took a while to find their feet, it was a good performance from a talented squad and with more training together they can be even better.

Rian O'Neill showed moments of class with fine catches, scores and range of passing, but he was often outnumbered and defender Ultan Kelm did decent marking job.

Eoghan McDonnell and Captain Callum O'Neill impressed in the middle, while Ross McQuillan offered drive along with Mullaghbawn's Shea Loye. In defence, Cathair McGeary looks a great man-marking prospect for the future while Corrinshego's Declan Loye also had a good game.

When the team clicked going forward they looked unstoppable as the two goals showed and they were solid in defence. There should be plenty to be upbeat about, but Armagh U20 manager Peter McDonnell feels the timing of the U20 Championship needs looked at again.

"I have to add that Kieran McGivney has been fantastic over this past fortnight and they [the U20 squad] weren't involved in any other training. Ryan Owens wasn't played last week against Fermanagh seniors and that made him available this evening.

"Ryan brought a great deal of maturity.

"I am shocking pleased because the lads were asked to try and keep the game very simple and controlled without having much time to rehearse it and I thought they brought a level of maturity and understanding to the field that I was surprised with and very pleased by."

Fermanagh : Aidan Keenan, James McCaffery, Ultan Kelm, Eoin Shiels, Conal Quinn, Johnny Cassidy, Paul Breen, Michael Og McGarrigle, Eoin Beacom, Callum Jones (0-2, 0-1 side-line), Daragh McGurn (02, 2 frees), Eoghan Curran (0-3), Paul Og O'Reilly, Lorcan McStravick (0-3, 2f), Shane McGullion.

Subs used: Cameron McBrien for McStravick (39'), Conor McGee for Jones (46'), Tiernan Bouge for Curren (53'), Paul Doherty for Cassidy (56').

Armagh : Eoin McParland, James McAlinden, Barry McCambridge, Declan Loye, Cathair McGeary, Conor O'Neill, Ryan Owens (0-1), Eoghan McDonnell (0-2), Callum O'Neill, Ross McQuillian (0-1), Shea Loye (0-1), Ryan Garvey, Conor Turbit (1-1), Jason Duffy (0-1), Rian O'Neill (1-6, 4f).

Subs used: Justin Kearns (0-1) for S Loye (39'), Ronan Magennis (0-1) for Garvey (51'), Darren Luckie for McGeary (60'), Sean McAlinden for D Loye (60+3),

Referee : Enda McFeely (Donegal).


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