Tyrone 1-20 Kildare 1-14
An ecstatic Sean O’Donnell paid tribute to the blood, sweat and tears that saw Tyrone lift the Under-20 All-Ireland crown against Kildare on Saturday.
The Red Hands were too strong for the Lilywhites in Carrick-on-Shannon with the Ulster champions well on their way to victory by half-time after established a four-point lead despite having played against the wind.
In Ruairi Canavan they have an exceptional attacking talent and for the second game in a row he was awarded the man of the match award having finished with a personal haul of 1-7.
This was by no means a one-man show as everyone in a Red jersey played their part, not least team captain Niall Devlin who led by example from halfback landing three brilliant points.
The fact that the halfback line and midfield contributed 0-7 between them showed the quality throughout this team and when you add a finisher like Canavan to the equation you have a potent mix, something that a gallant Kildare side simply couldn’t deal with.
O’Donnell once again covered every blade of grass on Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada and he was delighted to win an All-Ireland medal.
“It was great to just get over the line,” he said.
“Whenever you put in the savage work-rate that all the squad did it was brilliant to get the reward. The 31 players and all the management team all played their part in this success and it’s an unbelievable feeling, really, really special.
“When you have the hunger to go and do things and achieve things it leaves you difficult to beat.
“Forwards get the credit for the scoring but today you have to take your hat off to our half back line and midfielders who contributed seven points between them and that played a major part in us becoming All-Ireland champions.
“We were always saying in training that things aren’t going to be pretty all the time and we just have to keep learning every time that we go out.
“The management team have to be given so much credit for this victory, they never filled our heads with rubbish. “They just said to us that we were skilful enough and that they would train us and it was down to us players to get that motivation and hunger and to be fair every one of the players was prepared to go that extra one percent whenever it was needed”.
A Canavan goal in the opening seconds of the game drew a quick response at the other end of the field as Daniel Lynam found the net as the contest got off to an explosive start.
Ciaran Bogue, Ciaran Daly and Dan Muldoon hit Tyrone points but it was Kildare who then got their noses in front thanks to efforts from Dean O’Donoghue, Niall O’Regan and Eoin Bagnall.
It was at this stage though that Tyrone began to establish a match-winning lead with Canavan, Cush Devlin and fellow half back James Donaghy all on target as they greeted the short whistle 1-9 to 1-5 in front.
Canavan, Devlin and Ruairi McHugh all added third quarter points but Kildare were still in contention with ten minutes to go thanks to efforts from Bagnall, Tommy Gill, Luke Killian and Darragh Swords.
The Ulster champions though weren’t to be denied with the outstanding Canavan kicking five points in those closing stages with Michael McGleenan, Gavin Potter and Luke Donnelly to emerge worthy champions.
TYRONE: S McMenamin, M Rafferty, B Conway, E Corry, J Donaghy (0-1), S Donaghy, N Devlin (0-3), R McHugh (0-1), C Daly (0-2), C Cush (0-1), C Bogue (0-1), R Canavan (1-7, 3F), S O’Donnell, M McGleenan (0-1), D Muldoon (0-1). Subs: G Potter (0-1) for Muldoon, F Taggart for O’Donnell, S Daly for Cush, L Donnelly (0-1) for Bogue, L McGarrity for Canavan.
KILDARE: C Barker, H O’Neill, D O’Donoghue (0-1), M Maguire, T Gill (0-1), J McGrath, R Burke, B Gibbons, L Killian (0-3), N O’Regan (0-2), D Lynam (1-0), S Farrell, A Browne, A Fanning (0-1), E Bagnall (0-5, 4F). Subs: D Swords (0-1) for Lynam, J McKevitt for Gibbons, J Dalton for Browne, A Boyle for O’Neill, A Conneely for O’Regan.
Referee: L Devenney (Mayo)