Derry Minors celebrate the All-Ireland win
A dramatic final five minutes saw Derry claim the All-Ireland minor football title for the first time since 2002 thanks to a Matthew Downey penalty.
Matthew, son of All-Ireland 1993 winner Henry, showed nerves of steel to fire his kick down the centre of the goal and past Seán Broderick as the Oakleaf responded perfectly to conceding what looked like a championship-winning goal just seconds earlier.
It was a perfect ending to what has been a long 2020 campaign that began back in mid-December for Martin Boyle and his team but what a win, what a feeling and what a moment.
Derry started sharply with Matthew Downey and Eoin McEvoy scoring, but the Kingdom soon hit back and went two points ahead themselves through Cillian Burke, Cian McMahon, Aaron O’Shea and Keith Evans.
Downey was struggling to get on the ball early on, but an Oisín Maunsell pull back on the Lavey man allowed him to hit Derry’s first score in eight minutes.
Derry were dealt a blow when Patrick O’Kane was shown a black card by Jerome Henry for an off-the-ball block on Maunsell.
Kerry took advantage by adding two scores, but the Oakleaf reduced the gap to two when Charlie Diamond supplied Mark Doherty off the wing, and he slotted over an excellent right footed effort just inside the post, but a late score from Evans gave Kerry a 0-7, 0-4 lead.
McMahon and Maunsell for Kerry and Charlie Diamond and Lachlan Murray for Derry exchanged scores early in the second half.
There was a massive moment on 38 minutes as Kian McGonigle saved from Burke at one end and set off an attack that ended with Downey finding Doherty who jinked into the square and passed for Murray to fist to the net – 1-6 to 0-9.
And it got better from there as Derry snatched the lead for the first time since the sixth minute when Doherty turned into space again and this time supplied the finish himself.
It was blow for blow after that with Burke, Maunsell, Brady, Downey all scoring as the lead went back and forth.
A Broderick ’45 gave Kerry some hope as the game ticked into the final ten minutes but a poor kick-out from the goalkeeper on 51 minutes allowed Murray to fist over – 1-12 to 0-12.
The final few minutes brought some of the greatest drama the competition had ever seen. With the score at 1-12 to 0-14 heading into added time, McGonigle’s short kick-out wasn’t collected by Jude Moore and Maurice O’Connell nipped in to finish to the empty net and put Kerry up by two.
Yet, in the next play Derry broke down the field and after Callum Downey got away from Darragh Fleming, he found Matthew who played it in for Murray. He threw a side step and got the shot off that was blocked by the foot of Broderick. Matthew Downey set down the penalty and blasted it down the middle as the momentum swung again – 2-12 to 1-14.
McGonigle saved from Fleming before McMahon had a difficult chance at the death – sending a free from the left sideline wide of the right post and sending Derry to dreamland.
Derry: Kian McGonigle; Adam McGonigle, Patrick McGurk, Conor Shiels; Mark Doherty (0-2), Eoin McEvoy (0-1), Lee Brady (0-1); Dan Higgins, Patrick O’Kane; Donncha Gilmore, Matthew Downey (1-3, 1 pen, 2f), Jody McDermott; Charlie Diamond (0-1f), Lachlan Murray (1-2), Niall O’Donnell (0-1).
Subs: Callum Downey (0-1) for C Diamond (38), Jude Moore for A McGonigle (50), Ryan McEldowney for J McDermott (59), Peter McCullagh for L Murray (63).
Black Cards: P O’Kane (17).
Yellow Cards: D Gilmore (58).
Red Cards: None.
Kerry: Seán Broderick (0-1 ’45); Cian O’Donoghue, Joey Nagle, Dara O’Callaghan; Paudie O’Leary, Armin Heinrich, Killian O’Sullivan; Cillian Burke (0-2), Oisín Maunsell (0-2); Keith Evans (0-2), William Shine (0-2), Thomas O’Donnell; Cian McMahon (0-4, 2f), Aaron O’Shea (0-1), Darragh O’Sullivan.
Subs: Jordan Kissane for D O’Sullivan (43), Maurice O’Connell (1-0) for W Shine (46), Darragh Fleming for K O’Sullivan (50).
Black Cards: None.
Yellow Cards: T O’Donnell (14, 57), A O’Shea (31), S Broderick (61).
Red Cards: T O’Donnell (57).
Referee: James Henry (Mayo)
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