Canavan inspires as Tyrone overcomes Kerry to book final U20 spot
Tyrone 1-14 Kerry 1-12
Just over eight months after watching big brother Darragh achieve All-Ireland senior success with Tyrone, Ruairí Canavan is now on his way to EirGrid U-20 glory.
It was not the first time this season that Errigal striker Ciarán inspired his side and Ulster’s final hero scored 0-8 on aggregate as Tyrone came from behind to see his oldies Kerry rivals.
Kingdom won the corresponding game at minor level three years ago and also led that game five minutes from time, but Canavan’s equalizer, followed by a 58th-minute goal from Ciaran Bogue, gave to Tyrone an advance they would not relinquish.
The Ulster champions will have little time to celebrate victory as they face the 2018 winners in Kildare next weekend.
Captain Aaron Browne powered Kildare to a 0-12, 0-7 semi-final win over Connacht’s first-time champions Sligo on Saturday and Tyrone followed their lead at Portlaoise.
Tyrone trailed for much of the game, however, going 0-5 up 0-6 at the break and conceding a 34th-minute Kerry goal which was converted by Dylan Geaney.
The former Kerry Minor star scored 1-4 on aggregate and his 35th-minute point left Declan O’Sullivan’s side clear four, with Canavan superb, Tyrone slowly but surely brought them back.
Eoin Corry and Conor Cush also delivered stunning performances as Tyrone beat Kerry 1-6 0-4 in the final 20 minutes to secure their first final berth since winning the U-21 title in 2015.
“I think in the starting squad there are eight or nine who are still minors next year, so the future is bright,” Tyrone manager Paul Devlin said.
TYRON: S McMenamin; B Conway, E Corry, M Rafferty; D Muldoon, S Donaghy, N Devlin; R McHugh, M McGleenan (0-1); C Daly, J Donaghy, S O’Donnell (0-1); R Canavan (0-8, 3f, 1m), C Bogue (1-2), C Cush (0-2).
submarines: G Potter for O’Donnell (33-35 mins, blood), Potter for Cush (51), L Donnelly for O’Donnell (63), E Montgomery for Bogue (63).
KERRY: D Burns (0-1, 1f); D O’Callaghan, A Dineen, J Nagle; E O’Connor, A Heinrich, T Cronin; R Murphy (0-2), S O’Brien; K. Evans, T. O’Donnell, E. Looney; D Geaney (1-4, 0-2f), C Burke (0-1), K Goulding (0-4).
submarines: G Hassett for Evans (37 min), A Curran for Cronin (41), J Kissane for O’Donnell (48), T Doyle for Looney (52), J O’Connor for Goulding (57).
Arbitrator: A Nolan (Wicklow).