Updated: May 29th, 2023

Derry minor footballers are Ulster Champions

Derry holds the Ulster Football Championship crown at both senior and minor level for 2023, following a penalty shootout victory for the U17s in Sunday’s final against Monaghan.

Game Recap

Courtesy of GAA.ie

Derry 1-15 Monaghan 3-9 AET

(Derry win 4-2 on penalties)

Derry are Ulster Minor Football champions for the fourth time since 2015 after they pipped Monaghan on penalties at the end of a dramatic final in Armagh.

Just eight days after Monaghan had ousted Tyrone in similar fashion, they experienced the agony of losing a shoot-out, with a pair of saves by Jack McCloy guiding Derry over the line. It completed a double of minor and senior provincial titles this year for Derry, with both finals being won on penalties.

Monaghan made a perfect start with an early goal from Tommy Mallen, but Derry wiped that out with three unanswered points by Conall Higgins (two) and Ger Dillon. Luke McKenna regained the lead for Monaghan, but Derry forged ahead on ten minutes when Johnny McGuckian hit the net.

A James Sargent ’45 and a third point from Higgins stretched Derry’s lead, before Max McGinnity ended 12 scoreless minutes for Monaghan. Ethan McCaffrey and Conor Jones kept their side in touch, but Tommy Rogersand McGuckian had Derry 1-7 to 1-4 up at half-time.

Oisín Doherty and Sargent were on target early in the second half for Derry, either side of a McGinnity free for Monaghan, who got a major boost when sub Seán Óg McElwain fired to the net; not long after a Matthew Finn effort had been disallowed. Both goalkeepers were called into action during a frantic third quarter, with Jamie Mooney and Jack McCloy making some pivotal saves.

Dillon and Cahir Spiers kept Derry ahead, but Monaghan closed to within one when they got their third goal, courtesy of Conor Jones. A Dillon free inched Derry towards the winning line, only for Monaghan to respond via Max Maguire, before Finn intercepted a kick-out to chip over a late equaliser, making it 3-7 to 1-13, by which stage the influential McGuckian had been black-carded.

Higgins kicked the first point of extra-time, but a spectacular effort from play by the roving Mooney left the sides still deadlocked entering the last ten minutes. A point apiece from frees by Mallen and Higgins were all the teams could manage by the end, so it took another penalty shoot-out to decide it.

Derry never trailed in the shoot-out, as Sargent, Déaglán McNamee, McGuckian and Higgins coolly converted. McGinnity and Finn netted for Monaghan, but a couple of fine saves by Jack McCloy proved decisive.

Scorers for Derry: Conall Higgins 0-6 (4fs), Johnny McGuckian 1-0, Ger Dillon 0-3 (2fs), James Sargent 0-2 (1 ’45), Oisín Doherty 0-1, Cahir Spiers 0-1, Tommy Rogers0-1.

Scorers for Monaghan: Tommy Mallen 1-1 (1f), ConorJones 1-1, Seán Óg McElwain 1-0, Max McGinnity 0-2 (2fs), Jamie Mooney 0-1, Ethan McCaffrey 0-1, Luke McKenna 0-1, Max Maguire 0-1, Matthew Finn 0-1.

Derry: Jack McCloy; Rory Small, Finbar Murray, Luke Grant; Cahir Spiers, Fionn McEldowney (Capt.), Odhrán Campbell; Tommy Rogers, James Sargent; Éamon Young, Ger Dillon, Johnny McGuckian; John Boyle, Conall Higgins, Oisín Doherty.

Subs: Cahal McKaigue for Rogers (42), Lee O’Neill for Doherty (45), Darach McGonigle for Boyle (54), Dara McGuckin for Campbell (60).

Extra-time subs: Déaglán McNamee for Young (12).

Monaghan: Jamie Mooney; Conor Meehan, Cian Greenan, Jack Lynch; Donnchadh Connolly; Ethan McCaffrey, Tomás Quinn, Andrew Stewart; Matthew Carolan (Capt.), Canice Murphy; Conor Jones, Tommy Mallen, Luke McKenna; Max McGinnity, Matthew Finn.

Subs: Seán Óg McElwain for Finn (17-22), Seán Óg McElwain for Quinn (32), Caolán Clerkin for Meehan (49), John McCrystal for McGinnity (51), Jamie McCaughey forMurphy (60).

Extra-time subs: Odhrán Maher, Tom Doherty, Johnny Wright for Connolly (10), Max McGinnity for McCrystal(12).

Referee: Mark Loughran (Tyrone).

Post-match reaction