The Monaghan U20 team brave challenge for the Ulster under-20 title fell as Down won out 3-15 to 1-14 after extra-time. It was a heart-breaking conclusion for the brave Monaghan U20 team, however extra-time was a bridge too far.
Monaghan got off to a flying start with points from Darragh McElerney and Ronan Boyle within the opening two minutes. Shealan Johnston got Down off the mark on four miuntes with Sean Jones responding with a free. Down breached Monaghan’s defence a minute later with a Ruairi O’Hare goal.
The Monaghan U20 team were back in front on 10 minutes thanks to two points from Sean Jones. Down regained the lead two minutes later thanks to points from Anthony Morgan and Tom Smyth. Down led by two points at the water break via a Shealan Johnston free making it 1-4 to five points. Sean Jones sent over a free two minutes after the resumption.
Jason Irwin and Ruairi O’Hare exchanged points with a Darragh McElerney goal moving Monaghan ahead. 1-7 to 1-6. Jones sent over his fifth point of the game three minutes before the break. Peter Mullen responded with a point as Jones sent over his sixth point as Monaghan led 1-12 to 1-7 at half-time.
Right from the restart Shealan Johnston made it a one point game with his third point. While Jones and an O’Hare free made it 1-10 to 1-9 for Monaghan after 40 minutes. Donnach Swinburne and O’Hare exchanged points as Monaghan led by one at the second water-break. Jason Irwin extended the Monaghan led to two points on the resumption.
The game swung into Down’s favour as Andrew Gilmore found the net. Danny Magill’s point moved Down two clear 2-11 to 1-12 with 10 minutes remaining. Kyle Connolly then made it a one point game with two minutes of normal time remaining as Sean Jones free bang on 60 minutes sent the game to extra-time.
Andrew Gilmore and Shea Croskey both scored points in extra-time for Down as they led 2-13 to 1-14 at half-time in extra-time.
The intensity of the last couple of weeks told on Monaghan who tired in the second period of extra-time. Charlie Smyth’s free making it a three-point game.
Justin Clarke’s goal two minutes from time sealed Down’s win with another Charlie Smyth free sealing a seven point win 3-15 to 1-14.