All-Ireland U-20 B Hurling final
By Michael McMullan
DERRY made history at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon as their u-20 hurlers won a first All-Ireland B title more comfortably than the 3-17 to 2-14 scoreline suggests.
The Oakleafers hit 22 wides in all and the Rossies hit a late consolation goal from Seán Canning.
Derry’s victory made up for losing finals to Kerry (2018) and Meath (2021), taking the silverware in style.
— Michael McMullan (@malmcmullan) May 6, 2023
Ruairí Ó Mianáin hit 1-5 from play, James Friel landed five points from placed balls with Keelan Doherty and senior star Segdae Melaugh also finding the net.
The Oakleafers got off to the best possible start and led 1-3 to 0-0 after seven minutes with Melaugh blasting to the net when he latched onto a sideline cut from Jack Cassidy.
The Rossies eventually got their second wind. Three unanswered points was followed by a 12th minute goal from Liam Coyle before a Patrick Fallon free put them ahead for the first time.
Three Ryan Henry points had Derry back in front before Roscommon found their groove again, hutting three on the bounce to lead 1-9 to 1-8 at the interval.
Keelan Doherty and Eamon Cassidy had Derry ahead early in the second half, but they hid two wides in succession.
Roscommon scored another three unanswered points before Derry’s final momentum swing.
Ruairí Ó Mianáin had six first-half wides, but he was resilience personified. His three monster points from midfield had Derry back in front, 1-12 to 1-11, after 38 minutes.
Friel (two frees) and Jack Cassidy from play turned the screw and were screw four points ahead and on the way to victory.
The Oakleafers then had a stroke of luck their play deserved when Keelan Doherty’s shot squirmed from the grasp of goalkeeper Jack Ryan and into the net for the 2-17 to 1-13 lead.
The score of the game came in stoppage time. Doherty made a brilliant leap to win a Roscommon puck-out and when Jack Cassidy played Ó Mianáin in on goal, he crashed a spectacular goal, across the ‘keeper to the net.
Seán Canning hit a consolation goal for the Rossies, but there was no stopping Derry as they make history in commanding fashion.
Derry: Cathan McElhinney; John McAllister, Mark McEldowney, Aimon Duffin; Niall McGonagle, James Friel (0-5, 3f, 2 65), Callum O’Kane; Ruairí Ó Mianáin (1-5), Eunan Boylan; Jack Cassidy (0-2); Segdae Melaugh (1-0), Odhrán McElhinney; Ryan Henry (0-3), Eamon Cassidy (0-1), Keelan Doherty (1-1)
Subs: Conor Murtagh for O McElhinney (37), Conan Bradley for S Melaugh (64), Rónán McNamee for R Henry (64)
Roscommon: Jack Ryan; Thomas Fleming, James Dillon, Tomás Tiernan; Tommy Morris, Mikey Lohan, Micheál Hussey; Keelan Ryan, Ryan Conlon (0-1); Cormac Murphy, Finn Killion, Chulainn Dowd (0-2); Liam Coyle (1-1), Patrick Fallon (0-9, 7f), Seán Canning (1-1)
Subs: Ben Kelly for M Hussey (18), DJ Hession for C Mulry (HT), Conor Kavanagh for K Ryan (59), Aidan Hoare for C Dowd (59), James Mannion for T Tiernan (62)
Yellow card: DJ Hession (56)
Referee: Niall Malone (Clare)