Ulster U21 hurling Final: Derry beat Down 3-17 to 1-9 to clinch title

The Derry squad celebrates after Wednesday evening's win
Derry surprised nine-in-a-row seeking Antrim in last week's semi-final

Dominant Derry won their first Ulster U21 Hurling Championship title since 2008 as they defeated Down 3-17 to 1-9 at Corrigan Park.

An Oisin McManus goal helped Down lead by five points early on before Derry gained control.

Two goals from sub Corey Riley sealed the victory, after Brian Cassidy had fired in a first-half three-pointer

Shane McGuigan, Cassidy, Paddy Turner and Conor McAllister all produced superb displays for the Oak Leafers.

After ending Antrim's hopes of a ninth straight title last week, Derry went in as strong favourites but Down got off to a fast start, going five points ahead inside the opening five minutes, helped by McManus' goal.

However, three Daragh Cartin frees got Derry back into the game despite the loss of the influential John Mullan to injury.

McAllister brought them level in the 12th minute, and although the Ardsmen got their noses back in front through Coulter, outstanding wing back McGuigan powered over a fine score to get the Oak Leafers level again.

And they struck for a goal in the 26th minute, Cassidy getting in to net from close range.

Cassidy's point sent Derry in with a 1-9 to 1-5 interval lead, and an immense second half display from midfielder Conor McAllister ensured Collie McGurk's side remained on top.

Down could never match their hunger and intensity, and while Marty Mallon's men did pull back scores through Daithi Sands and Pearse Og McCrickard, they lacked the penetration to get themselves back in contention.

Cassidy, Ciaran Steele and the accurate Cartin kept the score-board ticking over, and by the end of the third quarter, they led by seven.

And they put the game beyond any doubt late on when substitute Corey Riley grabbed two goals in the space of a minute later on, both created by Cassidy.

Down finished with 14 players after midfielder Jordan Doran received a straight red card.

Derry: F McEldowney; S Higgins, P Turner, P McNeill; R McCartney, C Steele (0-1), S McGuigan (0-1); C McAllister (0-2), J Mullan; E McGill, S Cassidy, O McKeever (0-2); D Cartin (0-7, 4f, 1 '65), C O'Doherty (0-2), B Cassidy (1-2). Subs: C Riley (2-0) for Mullan, N Smyth for O'Doherty, P Burke for McKeever.

Down: H Flynn; B Myers, D Mallon, P McManus; M Fisher (0-2, 2 '65), E Coulter, R Courtney; L Savage, J Doran; B Trainor (0-1), D Sands, (0-1) R Campbell (0-1); O McManus (1-0), P McCrickard (0-1), C Coulter (0-3, 3f). Subs: M Pattterson for P McManus, N Breen for C Coulter, O Duggan for O McManus.

Referee: C Cunning (Antrim).

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