Ulster Under-20 Football Championship: Derry 2-17 Down 2-15

Derry forward Callum Brown attempts to move clear of Down pair Finn McIlroy and Daniel Guinness
Derry forward Callum Brown attempts to move clear of Down pair Finn McIlroy and Daniel Guinness

Derry fought back from a 10-point deficit to win a thrilling Ulster U20 Football Championship semi-final against Down at Clones.

Down hit two quick goals through Pierce Laverty and Aaron Devlin on their way to a 2-8 0-7 lead at the break.

The Mourne side increased the gap before the Derry comeback with Lorcan McWilliams and Callum Brown netting as the Oak Leafers clinched victory.

Derry will take on Armagh in the provincial decider.

Conor McCrickard punished every misdemeanour with his accurate free-taking as Down eased ahead early on.

But McWilliams was equally potent from placed balls at the other end, and eased his side into a two points lead early in the second quarter.

Down struck for two goals in the space of two minutes to turn the game emphatically in their favour.

Aaron Magee sent Laverty in for a low finish to the bottom corner of the net and then Devlin danced through for a brilliant individual strike.

Down forward Aaron Devlin hits the Derry net in but the Oak Leafers went to to secure victory
Down forward Aaron Devlin hits the Derry net in but the Oak Leafers went to to secure victory

A couple of scores from the excellent Daniel Guinness and a Magee effort had the Mourne lads five points to the good, and they finished the half with another flourish, with McCrickard hitting his fifth point.

Laverty stretched the lead out to 10 points as Down stepped up the pressure before McWilliams re-launched the Oak Leaf challenge as he netted a 34th minute penalty.

Brown fetched and netted a second goal seven minutes later, and Derry were on their way.

They had scores from the McWilliams twins, Oisin and Lorcan, as well as Ben McCarron and Conor Doherty, going ahead by the 53rd minute.

Down skipper and centre back Oisin McConvey was sent-off but kept in touch through sub Liam Kerr, who clipped over two points.

However, the momentum was with Derry, and they squeezed home with late scores from Lorcan McWilliams, who finished with 1-7, and Conleth McShane.

Derry scorers: L McWilliams 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-5f), C Brown 1-0, B McCarron 0-4 (1f), O McWilliams 0-3, C Doherty (f), C McCluskey, C McShane 0-1 each.

Down scorers: A Devlin 1-2 (0-1f), P Laverty 1-1, C McCrickard 0-4 (4f), D Guinness 0-3, L Kerr 0-2 (1f), A Magee, J McCartan, C Cox 0-1 each.

Derry: O Martin; S McKeever, C McCluskey, E Cormican; S Downey, C Doherty, D Cassidy; M McGrogan, D Rafferty, B McCarron, O McWilliams, J McAtamney; C Doherty, C Brown, L McWilliams.

Subs: C McShane for McAtamney (27), M Bradley for McGrogan (49), A Tohil for Downey (56), A Bradley for Doherty (61), E Bradley for L McWilliams (61)

Down: D Ross; B Gallen, F McIlroy, A Lynch; C Cox, O McConvey, S Annett; L Middleton, J Connery; O McCabe, P Laverty, D Guinness; A Devlin, C McCrickard, A Magee.

Subs: J McCartan for Devlin (41), L Kerr for Middleton (43), G McKibben for Magee (51), R Martin for Gallen (52), R Fegan for Connery (63)

Referee: C Dourneen (Cavan).