All-Ireland U21 Football Final: Tyrone v Tipperary

Roscommon's Diarmuid Murtagh feels the full force of Ruairi Mullan's tackle in the semi-final
Roscommon's Diarmuid Murtagh feels the full force of Ruairi Mullan's tackle in the semi-final

Tyrone hope to secure their first All-Ireland Under-21 Football title since 2001 when they take on Tipperary at Parnell Park on Saturday (18:00 BST).

The Red Hands defied the odds to beat Roscommon in the semi-finals, ending with a comfortable five-point winning margin over the Connacht outfit.

Tipp also sprung an upset by defeating Dublin at the last four stage.

The midfield battle between Tipp's Steven O'Brien and Frank Burns of Tyrone could prove crucial.

Their midfield partners Colin O'Riordan and Cathal McShane are both excellent going forward and their influence will depend on how much possession their team can win.

Several of the present Tyrone Under-21 side were involved in the 2013 All-Ireland minor final defeat by Mayo, while a number of the Tipp squad won All-Ireland medals at minor level in 2011.

The Tyrone minor side of 2013 included Saturday's Red Hand goalkeeper Sean Fox plus Frank Burns, Cathal McShane and Lee Brennan.

The game was initially pencilled in for Meath's Pairc Tailteann, but floodlight issues at the Navan ground forced a change of venue.

Tipperary boss Tommy Toomey has named an unchanged team from the shock win over the Dubs and while Feargal Logan has yet to reveal his Tyrone line-up, major change is not expected from the Roscommon game.

In retrospect, Tipperary's victory over Dublin perhaps should not have registered as such a big shock given that Toomey's side had defeated a Cork side aiming for a fifth straight Munster title in the provincial final.

Tipp showed great resolve to win that contest 1-15 to 3-8 after Cork had produced a second-half fightback.

Tyrone were also underdogs in both the Ulster Final and All-Ireland Semi-Final but their 1-11 to 0-13 win over Donegal was followed by a dominant 0-17 to 0-12 win over the fancied Rossies.

The Red Hands neutralised a highly-regarded Roscommon attack which included senior stars Diarmuid Murtagh, Enda Smith and Ultan Harney.

At the other end of the field, Lee Brennan kicked five points from play as the Red Hands made full use of the midfield dominance of Frank Burns and the particularly outstanding McShane.

A tight game is highly likely but a repeat of their defensive play which helped over Roscommon should be enough for Tyrone to edge the verdict.

Tipperary: E Comerford; K Fahey, J Feehan, C O'Shaughnessy; R Mulcahy, L Boland, B Maher; S O'Brien, C O'Riordan (capt), J Lonergan, I Fahey, L Casey; K O'Halloran, J Keane, P Maher.

Tyrone: tba

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