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All-Ireland U-20 B Hurling Final: Downs goalscoring edge prevails

Sunday 1st May 2022

Richie McElligott Cup – All-Ireland U-20 B Hurling Final

DOWN 2-15    ROSCOMMON        0-15

Kevin Egan at Kingspan Breffni Park

Down’s goalscoring edge proved to be the crucial difference between two otherwise evenly matched sides at Kingspan Breffni Park this afternoon, as second half strikes from Ballygalget club men Michael Dorrian and Oisín Coulter ensured that the Richie McElligott Cup was raised by Mourne County captain Lukas Boyd.

Roscommon played with the aid of a deceptively strong breeze in the first half and while they struggled to contain Down’s two-man full forward line of Coulter and Finn Turpin, they were very strong in the middle third, earning a series of frees that were converted by Patrick Fallon.

Three points from Coulter helped Down to edge 0-6 to 0-5 in front by the 20 minute mark, but Roscommon enjoyed a purple patch from there, shooting the next four in a row. Ryan Conlon and Adam Donnelly both found the target from opposite wings, while Eoin Kiernan also scrambled the ball over the line to raise a huge roar from the Roscommon crowd, only for the score to be ruled out for a square ball infringement.

If 0-9 to 0-7 looked like a small lead with the wind set to favour Down after half-time, it looked very different when Mikey Lohan and Fallon opened up the second half with points to double the lead. It could have been even more too, as Adam Donnelly fired an effort high and wide when going for goal, while Fallon was also crowded out just when it looked like he might be able to test Down goalkeeper Cathal Lavery.

When Down got their chance to take control, they were far more clinical. Much of their best work was driven by Michael Dorrian at the wing forward position, and he certainly took the game by the scruff of the neck ten minutes into the second half, initially when he drove at the Roscommon goal and then pounced after his first shot was blocked to whip the loose ball to the net.

Another point from his hurl off the next attack made it 1-9 to 0-11, and Roscommon’s troubles were soon compounded when corner back Ben Kelly was sent off for a second bookable offence.

To their credit, the Rossies rallied with 14 men and even after going three down, a brace of frees from Fallon either side of an outstanding Mikey Lohan point drew them level.

Down had a final surge in them however, and when James Duggan and Aodhán Furlong combined well to set up Oisín Coulter on the corner of the large square, the corner forward’s finish was accurate and emphatic.

Corner back Eoin Pucci stepped up to drive home Down’s advantage with two glorious long range points from play, and by the time Roscommon were awarded a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time, only the margin of victory was at stake.

It felt appropriate however that on a day when goalscoring was what decided the fate of the Richie McElligott cup, Fallon’s well-taken penalty was repelled by an even better diving save from Lavery, rounding off a joyous afternoon for the Ulster county.

Scorers for Down: Michael Dorrian 1-3, Oisín Coulter 1-3, James Duggan 0-5 (0-3f), Eoin Pucci 0-3 (0-1f), Finn Turpin 0-1.

Scorers for Roscommon: Patrick Fallon 0-9f, Mikey Lohan 0-3, Ryan Conlon 0-1, Adam Donnelly 0-1, Eoin Kiernan 0-1.

Down: Cathal Lavery; James Higgins, Deaglán Mallon, Eoin Pucci; Ryan Convery, Lukas Boyd, Ciarán Milligan; Owen McDermott, Aodhán Furlong; Ethan Bell, James Duggan, Michael Dorrian; Ciarán Savage, Oisín Coulter, Finn Turpin.

Subs: Ryan O’Neill for Mallon (6-7, temp), Seán Milligan for Bell (39), Ryan O’Neill for McDermott (44), Eoin Magee for Savage (55), Rory Corcoran for Coulter (59).

Roscommon: Michael Corcoran; James Dillon, Thomas Tiernan, Ben Kelly; James Mannion, Naoise Coyle, Micheál Hussey; Mikey Lohan, Jack Dowling; Patrick Fallon, Eoin Kiernan, Michael Brennan; Ryan Conlon, Adam Donnelly, Finn Killion.

Subs: Trevor Fallon for Killion (21), Cormac Mulry for Brennan (34), Dara Finneran for Donnelly (57).

Referee: Tarlach Conway (Derry)