Minor matters

Shaun Casey takes a look at the updated Ulster Minor Championship roll of honour list

Tyrone – 25 titles

NOBODY has won more Ulster Minor titles than Tyrone as they currently lead the roll of honour on 25, and no one has reached the decider more than the Red Hand County have (35). Tyrone last captured the provincial crown in 2022 when they secured back-to-back titles and a number of that panel helped Tyrone land an All-Ireland u-20 title this season. They reached three minor finals in four years from 2019-2022 and they lost the 2019 showpiece to Monaghan by two points.

Derry – 17 titles

THE reigning Ulster and All-Ireland champions Derry have been the team to beat in the northern province at this age grade for the last decade. Damian McErlain’s youngsters retained their title last weekend, beating Armagh by two points, and have competed in eight of the last ten finals. The last two times Derry have won the Ulster Championship (2020 and 2023), they’ve gone on to win the All-Ireland and a number of the players in their current side are eyeing up back-to-back All-Ireland crowns.

Armagh – 12 titles

ARMAGH ended a long wait to get back to an Ulster final last week as they made their first appearance since 2014. Their wait for an Ulster crown was extended however and they last picked up some provincial silverware back in 2009, when present senior stars James Morgan, Rory Grugan and Andrew Murnin helped the Orchard County go all the way and land an All-Ireland Minor title. Including 2024, Armagh have now lost their last four Ulster finals since they last won one.

Down – 10 titles

DESPITE some recent provincial success at u-20 level, it’s been 25 years since Down last won an Ulster title at this grade. That was back in 1999 when the likes of Benny Coulter, the current Down minor boss, helped the Mourne men capture the crown. They have reached three Ulster finals since then (’04, ’05 and ’09) and even won the All-Ireland in 2005, when a certain Marty Clarke led them to glory, but their wait for an Ulster title goes on.

Antrim – 8 titles

ANTRIM have only contested one Ulster Minor final since the turn of the millennium and that was back in 2006 when they lost out to Donegal. They were in the final twice throughout the ‘90s but you have to go back to 1982 for Antrim’s more recent provincial silverware at this level. The noughties were the only decade that the Saffrons didn’t at least make the decider, dating back to the 1930s.

Donegal – 7 titles

DONEGAL’S last provincial success came in 2016 when they were one of the dominant forces in Ulster, winning two titles in three years (2014 and 2016). They went on to reach the All-Ireland final for the first time in their history in 2014 but Declan Bonner’s young side lost out to Kerry. The likes of Peadar Mogan, Mark Curran and Niall O’Donnell collected Ulster medals in 2016 and backed that up with senior crowns this season.

Monaghan – 6 titles

2013 was a special year for Monaghan as they achieved the unique Minor and Senior double in Ulster and for the Farney youngsters, they ended a 68-year wait for a provincial title. That was off the back of losing the final the year previously to Tyrone while they backed it up with further provincial success in 2018 and 2019. Monaghan reached the Ulster and All-Ireland deciders last season but lost out to Derry on both occasions.

Cavan – 6 titles

DESPITE plenty of u-21 success in recent years, Cavan’s record at minor level has been pretty horrendous. They did reach the showpieces in 2015 and 2017, but tasted defeat to Derry both times and haven’t won the title since 2011. That season they ended a 37-year wait for an Ulster Minor title, coming back from four points down at half time to beat Armagh, and that team was backboned by future senior stars such as Killian Clarke, Gerard Smith, Dara McVeety and Conor Moynagh.

Fermanagh – 0 titles

FERMANAGH have never tasted provincial silverware at minor or senior level and haven’t contested an Ulster Minor Championship final since 2003, when they lost out to Tyrone by nine points, 3-9 to 0-9. In fact, the Erne County have only ever had four appearances in an Ulster Minor final, in 1967, 1970 and 1971, but couldn’t overcome the challenge of Tyrone (twice) or Derry.


BACK-TO-BACK…James Sargent captained Derry to a second Ulster title in as many seasons

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LAST TIME…James Morgan was a minor when Armagh last won Ulster in 2009


BATTLE…Derry overcame a gritty Armagh side in this year’s Ulster final

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