Ulster Minor Football Tournament final
Dungiven 2-7 Four Masters 1-8
By Michael McMullan
A GOAL from Pádraig Haran, two minutes from time, shot Dungiven to a second Ulster minor title in a pulsating game at St Paul’s on Sunday.
Donegal champions Four Masters, unbeaten all through their underage career, looked to have weathered the Dungiven storm until Man of the Match Darach McGonigle made the winner for Haran who drilled through a sea of blue jersies to the net.
Dungiven were underdogs after Four Masters dumped a fancied Donaghmore team out in the semi-final, but it was their “don’t stop” mantra – epitomised by Pádraig O’Kane – that kept them in a game that could’ve slipped away after a controlled opening period.
— Michael McMullan (@malmcmullan) January 1, 2023
Like their win over Burren, every time they were hit with a blow, the Derry champions responded to land the next blow.
With the breeze at their back, Eoin Higgins, Odhran Murphy and Darach McGonigle had Dungiven three points ahead after 13 minutes.
Before they had their scoring brace, Dungiven had the crossbar and goalkeeper Odhran McElhinney to thank. Seanán Carr’s shot came off the bar with McElhinney also getting a glove on the rebound to prevent a certain goal.
Four Masters were soon back in the game when a Meehan free dropped into the square where it wasn’t dealt with and Carr powered his shot to the net.
Kevin Muldoon and Leo McGowan kicked points as Four Masters went in ahead at the break, 1-4 to 0-6.
The Donegal Town side added points to go three clear before Dungiven’s first goal. It began with a Pádraig O’Kane interception in defence, with Darach McGonigle’s dipping shot landing in the arms of Shea McLaughlin who placed his shot into the top corner.
Eoin Higgins – with a point almost as tasty as his first – had Dungiven ahead, but Four Masters looked to have broke their resolve with a sweet Kevin Muldoon point from the wing.
They had a chance to seal the deal, but when Conor Meehan’s shot dropped in the arms of ‘keeper McElhinney Dungiven went on the attack again. Pádraig O’Kane and Odhran Murphy were involved before McGonigle made the winning goal for Haran.
It was a first title since 1990 and an 18th in all for Derry clubs in the competition’s history.
Dungiven: Odhran McElhinney; Donnach Colgan, Kevin Barry Mullan; Kian O’Connor; Pádraig O’Kane, Jack Dunne, Joe Dillon; Pádraig Haran (1-0), Bobby Butcher; Shea McLaughlin (1-0), Eoin Higgins (0-5, 3f), Odhran Murphy (0-1); Conor Gaile, Darach McGonigle (0-1), Darragh O’Neill
Sub: Padhraic O’Neill for D O’Neill (35)
Black card: O Murphy (63)
Yellow cards: P Haran (49), J Dillon (54)
Four Masters: Daniel McGinty; Terence McGovern, Leo McGowan (0-1), Theo Colhoun; Fiachra O’Donnell; David Monaghan, Caolan Sweeney; Callum McCrea (0-1), Jake Graham; Conor McCahill (0-2), Seanán Carr (1-0), John Bell, Kevin Muldoon (0-2); Conor Meehan (0-2f), Daniel Quinn
Subs: Turlough Carr for D Quinn (45) Oisin Doherty for C McCahill (55), Daniel McIntyre for J Bell (62)
Black card: L McGowan (61)
Referee: Colm McDonald (Antrim)