Laverty’s men win in Ulster quarters

Laverty’s men win in Ulster quarters

14 July 2021

DOWN U-20 footballers advanced to the semi-finals of the Ulster Championship after a dominant display against Cavan in Kingspan Breffni Park.

Conor Laverty’s Mourne men proved far too much for a budding Cavan side, with a 14-point final scoring margin reflecting the difference in the two sides.

Down were immense all over the park and will have put their name firmly in the hat as a team that could go all the way.

Despite being level at three points a piece by the ten minute mark, which included a 60-metre free wonderfully taken by 

Down ‘keeper Charlie Smyth, the red and black outfit began to assert their dominance on the contest and were ahead by five at the first water-break.

This was partly in thanks to a goal from some excellent team play after Shealan Johnson touched the ball forward to Ryan Magill who set up Andrew Gilmore to give Down the breathing space they needed to never look back.

Down decided to press high against their counterparts and Cavan simply could not handle the pressure. Frees from Danny Magill and Emmet Boylan were followed by a fisted effort from Tom Smyth to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Down.

The Mourne side showed they had talent to spare with scores from Tom Close and Ruairi O’Hare before Cavan hit back with an Emmett Boylan score.

However, it wouldn’t be long before Kilcoo man Johnson put his name on the scoresheet, with Smyth adding again.

The partnership of Magill and Gilmore were a constant threat and soon they were reversing roles as this time it was Gilmore who worked the ball for a Magill goal.

At the interval Down led by 12 points with the scores 2-12 to 0-6.

The contest was dead and buried in the second half and the mood on the pitch reflected this.

Down managed to point another two scores in the third quarter, but they weren’t worried and knew Cavan had given them their best shot at this stage.

The hosts did keep fighting until the end, and landed scores through the notable Sean McEvoy and substitute Paddy McPhilips. 

Despite their efforts, Cavan just couldn’t deal with the Down attack and eventually saw their misery compounded after Ryan Kennedy was sent for an early bath following his second yellow of the match.

Down boss Laverty will be confident ahead of his side’s semi-final clash against Fermanagh, after Maurice McLaughlin’s men defeated Antrim by nine points in their quart-final tie.

Cavan: L Hammond, N Carolan, C Leddy, C McKeogh, C Boylan, R Kennedy, M Maguire, E Maguire (0-1), B O’Rourke, R Brady, C McGovern, E Clarke (0-1), E McCaffrey (0-1), E Boylan (0-2, 1f), S McEvoy (0-2).

Subs: M McGahern for R Brady (half-time), P Smyth for B O’Rourke (38), M Owens for E McCaffrey (43), P McPhilips (0-1) for E Maguire (46), J McCahill for E Clarke (58), T Harten for Maguire (temp, 60).

Down: C Smyth (0-4, 2f, two 45s), T Fettes, S Campbell, P McCarthy, T Smyth (0-2), P McMullan, R Magill, A Morgan, T Close (0-2), D Magill (1-2, 1f), S Johnston (0-2), J McGovern, A Gilmore (1-1), E Brown (0-2), R O’Hare (0-1f).

Subs: L Toal for P McMullan (28 mins), O Murdock for A Morgan (42), L McManus for A Gilmore (43), S Óg McCusker (0-1) for J McGovern (48), S Croskey for T Smyth (48).