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Meath land first All-Ireland minor football title in 29 years after dramatic win over Tyrone

Shaun Leonard hit the winning score for Meath.

Meath 1-12

Tyrone 1-11

MEATH CLINCHED THEIR first national minor football crown since 1992 in dramatic fashion this afternoon, Shaun Leonard clipping over the winning score in the 64th minute as they prevailed narrowly over Tyrone in Croke Park.

oisin-o-murchu-celebrates-scoring-a-goal Meath's Oisin Ó Murchú celebrates scoring a first-half goal. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

An exciting finale saw Leonard register at a vital stage for Meath after Tyrone had reeled them in to level. The Royals only scored once after the water break, Leonard raising the white flag to end an 18-minute scoring drought after a terrific run forward from defence by Conor Ennis paved the way for the opportunity.

Tyrone had one late chance to level when substitute Conor Owens was fouled but after taking the free himself, he had the misfortune to see his shot tail wide of target.

The Ulster champions dominated the final quarter, gaining plenty possession from Meath’s kickout and creating openings but their shooting let them down as they amassed five wides in second-half injury time alone.

hugh-cunnigham-and-christian-finlay Hugh Cunningham in action against Christian Finlay. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Meath were in front 1-7 to 1-6 after a lively first half. There were two brilliant goals converted in that period, the first by Cormac Devlin in the 8th minute when the Tyrone captain sidestepped the Meath cover and planted the ball in the net.

Then Meath fought back five minutes later when Oísín Ó Murchú struck home a superb shot, Seán Emmanuel adding a point soon after to tie the teams at 1-4 apiece at the first water break.

Meath bagged three of the last four points in the opening period to forge that interval advantage.

cormac-devlin-celebrates-scoring-a-goal Cormac Devlin celebrates scoring a goal for Tyrone.

Tyrone drew level early in the second half, Owens and Devlin raising white flags with goalkeeper Oisín McDermott slotting over a ’45 into Hill 16 for Meath.

Then the winners made what looked to be a decisive scoring burst. Ó Murchú, McDermott and a stylish looping shot by Hughie Corcoran sent Meath in front 1-11 to 1-8 by the second water break.

Tyrone dominated the game thereafter but struggled to translate territory into scores as they spurned several chances. Ruairí McHugh in the 48th minute and Ronan Cassidy in the 57th minute succeeded in cutting the gap to the minimum.

Tyrone at last drew level courtesy of a free from Owens in the 63rd minute but Meath responded at a critical juncture as Leonard proved the match-winner.

ruairi-mchugh-and-sean-emmanuel Ruairí McHugh and Sean Emmanuel. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scorers for Meath: Oísín Ó Murchú 1-2, Hughie Corcoran 0-3 (0-1f), Shaun Leonard, Oisín McDermott (0-2 ’45) 0-2 each, Jack Kinlough, Seán Emmanuel, Conor McWeeney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tyrone: Cormac Devlin 1-1, Ronan Cassidy 0-3 (0-2f), Eoin McElholm, Conor Owens (0-2f), Ruairí McHugh 0-2 each, Hugh Cunningham 0-1 (0-1f).

Meath

1. Oisín McDermott (Ballinlough)

2. Conor Ennis (Ballinabrackey), 3. Liam Kelly (Ratoath – captain), 4. Seán O’Hare (Rathkenny)

5. Tomás Corbett (Ratoath), 6. John O’Regan (Skryne), 7. Killian Smyth (Castletown)

8. Paul Wilson (Donaghmore Ashbourne), 9. Jack Kinlough (St Peter’s Dunboyne).

10. Shaun Leonard (Naomh Colmcille), 11. Seán Emmanuel (St Patrick’s), 12. Conor McWeeney (Kilbride).

13. Christian Finlay (Naomh Colmcille), 14. Oísín Ó Murchú (Naomh Colmcille), 14. Hughie Corcoran (Drumbaragh Emmets)

Subs

23. Andrew Moore (Ballinabrackey) for McWeeney (52)

24. James Foley (Trim) for Corcoran (58)

20. Brian O’Halloran (Ballivor) for Kelly (61)

Tyrone

1. Niall Robinson (Derrylaughan)

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2. Michael Rafferty (Killyclogher), 3. Ronan Fox (Loughmacrory), 4. Callan Kelly (Cookstown).

5. Hugh Cunningham (Pomeroy), 6. Shea O’Hare (Ardboe), 7. Matthew Mallon (Omagh).

8. Ronan Donnelly (Donaghmore), 9. Ruairí McHugh (Coalisland).

10. Ronan Strain (Omagh), 11. Cormac Devlin (Ardboe – captain), 12. Gavin Potter (Killyclogher).

13. Ronan Cassidy (Donaghmore), 14. Paddy McCann (Beragh), 15. Eoin McElholm (Loughmacrory).

Subs

20. Conor Owens (Beragh) for Potter (half-time)

21. Noah Grimes (Donaghmore) for McCann (46)

24. Ronan Molloy (Donaghmore) for Cunningham (57)

19. Brian Hampsey (Coalisland) for McHugh (57)

Referee: Dereek O’Mahoney (Tipperary).

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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