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Ulster U21 Championship: Tyrone 1-15 Down 1-10

The titanic struggle between Tyrone and Down in the quarter-final of the Ulster U21 Championship finally came to an end at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh last night when the Red Hands emerged winners by five points in the second replay.

The Mourne lads looked the better side throughout the first half and led by six points with half time approaching but Tyrone turned things around in spectacular fashion to go in at the break on level terms and they never looked back.

In the second half there was only one side in it as Tyrone tagged on nine points with Down managing only three scores in reply as the title favourites booked a semi-final meeting with Monaghan at Brewster Park next Wednesday evening.

Gerard McAnulty and Ronan O’Neill exchanged early points but then Down took over as they played some absolutely superb football.

Anton McArdle, Danny Savage and Paul Devlin all weighed in with quality points with the latter planting the ball low to the Tyrone net to help his side to a 1-5 to 0-2 lead.

Tyrone were in deep trouble but with Shea McGuigan in superb form they hit back.

Ronan O’Neill and Paddy McNeice converted frees either side of an O’Neill goal to leave it 1-6 each at half-time.

Ben O’Reilly put Down in front from a free on the restart but then Tyrone took complete control as they landed nine points without reply.

O’Neill proved unerring from frees with Kyle Coney, Mattie Donnelly, McNeice and team captain Peter Harte all splitting the posts as well.

Devlin stopped the rot with a Down point and midfielder Conor Poland added another one but by that stage it only served to put a better look on the scoreboard as Tyrone finally made it into the last four.

It had been a hard slog for the Red Hands against quality opposition but the favourites’ class told in the end.

Tyrone: N Morgan, R Pickering, R McNamee, F McQuaid, N Sludden (0-1), G Teague, S McKenna, N McKenna (0-1), R Donnelly, P McNeice (0-3), P Harte (0-1), S McGuigan, K Coney (0-2), M Donnelly (0-1), R O’Neill (1-6). Subs: C Gervin for Teague, T McCann for S McKenna, J McCullagh for Gervin, S Warnock for R Donnelly.

Down: C Heaney, A Brannigan, P Boyle (0-1), M Higgins, K Quinn, G McAnulty (0-1), D McKibben, A McArdle (0-1), C Poland (0-1), B O’Reilly (0-1), P McPolin, P Devlin (1-3), D Savage (0-1), C Harrison, R Brady (0-1). Subs: C Clarke for Brady, N McParland for McAnulty, R O’Hare for Harrison, D O’Hare for Savage, A McConville for O’Reilly.

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).

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