Not for the first time, Ballinderry came from behind to break Lavey hearts in what was a fantastic advert for Derry Championship football.
Lavey had raced into an early lead with a game-plan and hit Cailean O’Boyle and James McQuaid as quickly and as often as possible. It put them in charge at 2-7 to 0-7 thanks to goals from McQuaid and Niall Toner but you’ll never dominate Ballinderry for 60 minutes and gradually they got to grips with midfield and from there pushed on.
Crucially Ryan Bell pointed twice inside 30 seconds to reduce the deficit to a four points by half-time. By the 35th minute they were within a point.
Yet Lavey went again and scored of the game’s next four points before the Shamrocks got an all important goal when Daniel McKinless touched home Dermot McGuckin’s miss hit shot. Chrissy Henry put Lavey 2-11 to 1-13 ahead with five to play before Conleith Gilligan did what he has been doing for years and kicked a superb score out of nowhere. Level, it was left to Bell to break the Lavey hearts in a game no one deserved to lose.
Ballinderry scorers: Conleith Gilligan 0-6 (0-3f), James Bateson 1-1, Coilin Devlin 0-3 (0-2f), Ryan Bell 0-3, Dermot McGuckin 0-1, Raymond Wilkinson 0-1
Lavey scorers: Cailean O’Boyle 0-5 (0-4f), James McQuaid 1-1, Niall Toner 1-0, Kevin O’Neill 0-2, Damian Chivers 0-1, Kevin Rafferty 0-1, Chrissy Henry 0-1
Balinderry: Mickey Conlan; Ryan Scott, Gareth McKinless, Kevin McGuckin; Michael McIver, Connor Nevin, Raymond Wilson; Enda Muldoon, James Conway; Ryan Bell, Darren Conway, Dermot McGuckin; Conleith Gilligan, Coilin Devlin, Raymond Wilkinson
Subs: Darren Lawn for McIver (27), Daniel McKinless for Wilkinson (43), Kevin ‘Moss’ McGuckin for Muldoon (60)
Lavey: Ciaron O’Boyle; Colm Dillon, Kevin Rafferty, Eamon McGill; Ryan Farren, Caolan McGurk, Sam Dodds; Damian Chivers, Kevin O’Neill; Sean Conway, Niall Toner, Colm Murphy; Chrissy Henry, James McQuaid, Cailean O’Boyle
Subs: Liam Murphy for McQuaid (50), Michael Drumm for Conway (54), Gary Doyle for Rafferty (60)
Referee: JJ Cleary (Castledawson)