Superb second half sees Banagher get better of Ballinascreen
Leadon Timber Frame Derry Senior Hurling Championship
Banagher 1-15, Ballinascreen 1-09
All the excitement in this game at Owenbeg was packed into the second quarter. When the first water break was reached after a dull 15 minutes Banagher led by 1-1 to 0-3.
Whatever was in the water seemed to work for both teams as they traded score for score until half time with Banagher 1-9 to 1-7 in front. Four minutes after the resumption Ryan Scullion,
from a free, made the score 1-9 to 1-8. The next and final ‘Screen score came 26 minutes later just short of the final whistle. Ballinascreen did have enough chances to worry Banagher but their cause was not helped by some off key free taking by the normally accurate duo of Paul Cleary and Ryan Scullion.
In the end the St. Mary’s were fully deserving of their six point victory. They were more direct, physically stronger and took some superb long range scores. With Brian Og McGilligan alternating between midfield and full forward it seemed to unsettle the losers' defence with no one picking him up at times. He scored three points but his best was ruled out just before half time when he brushed past two defenders and from a tight angle split the posts.
Meanwhile he was unaware that a linesman was flagging furiously behind him. The ball had gone out of play before the build up!
A lot of credit for the victory must go to the winners' half back trio of Niall Farren, Darragh McCloskey and Mark Lynch who shut out early scoring attempts by Ballinascreen. Farren in
particular was eye catching with some brilliant interceptions and deliveries. In the first half Noel Rafferty hit 1-03 from play for 'Screen who seemed to forget about him after half time. While Banagher did close the spaces around him his team mates rarely put a decent ball in his direction. Notably in the Ballinascreen defence Eoghan Gilmore was excellent at full back.
One other aspect that will keep Banagher manager Ryan Lynch happy was the performance of goalie Conor Campbell. Apart from making two very important saves, his puck outs generally found a team mate.
In the early snorefest Banagher went in front after five unexciting minutes with a long range effort from attack leader Tiernan McCloskey. Four minutes latter a cross from Ciaran Lynch
fell to the waiting Liam Og Campbell and he slipped the ball to the net amid a throng of bodies.
Twelve minutes had dragged by when Paul Cleary opened the St. Colm’s account from a free but he then followed it with a superb score from near the half way line. Just before the thirst was quenched the alert Noel Rafferty made it a one point game.
As the referee sounded his whistle for the second quarter a real game of hurling broke out. Darragh McCloskey pointed a Banagher free but soon the ball was in the Banagher net. John McCloskey sent a peach of pass to Ciaran McBride and his goal bound shot was brilliantly stopped by keeper Campbell.
Then it was Anton Scullion who put McBride through next but this time after another of Campbell’s saves the ball spun to the alert Rafferty and he made no mistake for a 1-4 to 1-2 lead.
Liam Og Campbell reduced the deficit from a free but Ballinascreen were going well as John McCloskey set up Rafferty to regain their two point lead. It got even better when Cleary from
a huge distance put three points between the teams.
The last six minutes of the half was frantic. Brian Og McGilligan scored under pressure and Ciaran Lynch sent over from an Oisin McCloskey pass. Lynch then went solo to level the
game at 1-6 each. Tiernan McCloskey and Sean McCullagh both hit quality points before the rampaging McGilligan made the score 1-9 to 1-6. Ballinascreen, after shipping six points in as many minutes had the last score of the half with a Ciaran Doyle point.
Ciaran McBride and Ciaran Lynch were both wide of the mark after the restart but Bran Og McGilligan made no mistake when he was put through by Farren. Four minutes in Ryan Scullion pointed after a foul on Rafferty. The teams exchanged a brace of wides each before Banagher took a firm grip on the game with Oisin McCloskey, who was prominent at midfield opening up a three point lead. Sub Daniel McGrellis with his first touch set up Johnny O’Dwyer for a well taken point.
In the 43rd minute Tiernan McCloskey, from some 50m, left the sore 1-12 to 1-8. Just prior to the second water break Ryan Scullion sent an effort narrowly wide.
Ballinascreen had chances to reduce the deficit at the start of the final quarter. A Paul Cleary ’65 fell short and was cleared by Ruairi McCloskey. Then Ryan Scullion sent a free to the left
of the post. Banagher using all their vast experience were able to nullify any danger that ‘Screen offered.
When Brian Og McGilligan set up the wily Sean McCullagh he made it a safe looking six point lead. On the hour Reece McSorley posted Ballinascreen’s last score. Banagher’s teenage sub Niall Biggs with an added time free completed the scoring.
Banagher: Conor Campbell, Fiontainn McGilligan, Ruairi McCloskey, Cahir McGilligan, Niall Farren, Darragh McCloskey, Mark Lynch. Oisin McCloskey(0-1), Brian Og McGilligan (0-3), Callum O’Kane, Tiernan McCloskey (0-3,1f).Ciaran Lynch (0-3), Liam Eoin Campbell (1-1,1f), Jonathan O’Dwyer (0-1), Sean McCullagh(0-2). Subs Daniel McGrellis for L. Campbell(40), Steafan McCloskey for J. O’Dwyer(49) and Niall Biggs(0-1f) for S. McCullagh(55).
Ballinascreen: Martin Mulgrew, Caoilte McAlinden, Eoghan Gilmore, Philip McGlade, Ruairi McWilliams, Charles Gilmore, Aodhan O’Hagan, John McCloskey, Paul Cleary (0-3,1f), Anton Scullion, Ciaran McBride, Ciaran Doyle (0-1), Reece McSorley (0-1), Ryan Scullion (0-1f), Noel Rafferty (1-3). Subs. Aaron Kelly for A. Scullion(40) John McAllister for C. McAlinden(44), Aidan McGuigan for R. McWilliams (49), Cormac Gough for C. Doyle(54)
Referee: Gerard Fox (Omagh)