Paddy McLarnon-Premier Electrics U21 club championship
By Liam Tunney
O’Rahilly’s GAC Latton (Monaghan) 0-05
Clann Éireann (Armagh) 1-13
Clann Éireann recorded a comfortable victory over Latton to reach the semi final of the Ulster U21 Paddy McLarnon Cup at a windswept Kickham’s Creggan on Sunday.
A personal haul of 1-3 for Man of the Match Tiernan Kelly did the damage for the Armagh side, who, despite a nervy first half with the breeze, underlined their superiority in the second half without it.
The Monaghan U19 champions struggled to make an impact after a bright opening period and failed to register a score in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Latton’s Aaron Mulligan opened the scoring in the 2nd minute and doubled his tally before Pauric Hughes saw his low drive tipped over by Clann Éireann goalkeeper Eoghan Mulholland.
The Lurgan men were struggling to make inroads against a sharp Latton defence and when Ruairí McDonald did find a way through, Shane Black stood firm to deny him with an outstanding save in the 10th minute.
McDonald did register Clann Éireann’s first score, ending a counter attack in the 16th minute before Tiernan Kelly’s long-range effort dropped short and bounced over to cut the gap to one.
The lively Ruairí McDonald levelled matters with five minutes remaining until half-time and the impressive Kelly flashed a low effort over the bar to give his side a slender lead at the break.
Playing into a stiff Loughshore breeze, Clann Éireann needed a convincing start to the second period and got it through their inspirational centre forward.
Kelly collected from the throw-in and powered his way through the Latton defence, hammering to the net to open a four-point gap on the Farney side.
Points followed from Ruairí McDonald and Aodhan McConville before Aaron Mulligan hit back with his third of the afternoon.
The Monaghan attacker’s free on 40 minutes proved to be Latton’s final score as Clann Éireann confidently controlled the final quarter.
Tiernan Kelly brought his tally to 1-3 with another surging run and finish before Ruairí McDonald tacked on another.
Jack Conlon then wrote his name on the score sheet after patient play from the Lurgan side, before a 0-3 salvo from Aodhan McConville brought his final tally to 0-5.
Clann Éireann have gone a step further than last year’s quarter final exit to eventual champions Dromore and there is a feeling around Armagh that this is a special group.
Their strength in depth is such that even with Ríoghan Meehan and Conor Turbitt yet to return from injury, they have a real chance of making an impact on this tournament.
O’Rahilly’s: Shane Black, Thomas McPhillips, Dylan Quinn, Shane Slevin, Conor Corrigan, Shane Duffy, Eoin Duffy, Pauric Hughes (0-01), James Hughes, Aaron Mulligan (0-04, 0-01f), Conor McCabe, Darragh Dempsey, Enda McPhillips, Darren Quinn, Gavin West.
SUBS: Michael Coyle for Gavin West (HT)
YELLOW CARDS: Pauric Hughes (51)
CLANN ÉIREANN: Eoghan Mulholland, Mícheál O’Shea, Oscar McKeagney, Rory Shine, Conan O’Carroll, Barry McCambridge, Ryan Owens, Conor McConville, Sean McCarthy, Aodhan McConville (0-05, 0-01f), Tiernan Kelly (1-03), Jack Conlon (0-01), Ruairí McDonald (0-04, 0-02f), Callum Magee, Ruairí McConville.
YELLOW CARDS: Sean McCarthy (12), Tiernan Kelly (56)
REFEREE: Sean Laverty (Antrim)