Ballygalget storm to victory after pre-game misinformation
Ballygalget 4-13 Keady 0-12
Ballygalget won yesterday's first AIB Ulster Club SHC semi-final, at Casement Park, with a 4-13 to 0-12 result against Keady but the Ards men didn't win many friends because of the misinformation they issued before the game.
According to officialdom, the only change in the John Mitchel's side was Paddy Coulter for Eoin Clarke with the players swapping jersey numbers from those on the programme. It was a different scenario as wholesale changes were made, leaving spectators and the media confounded.
It transpired that Paddy Coulter replaced Shane Bailie with Steven Clarke donning the No14 shirt instead of the No 12. In fact, only two forwards played in their announced positions and wore the jerseys allotted to them on the programme.
Anyhow, Ballygalget battled their way into next Sunday's final with a closing flurry of scores to win by 13 points that gave the scoreline an undeserved one-sided look.
The rank outsiders from Armagh fought like tigers for over 50 minutes but a 2-2 blitz by the Mourne men from the 56th minute ended the contest.
Martin Og Coulter got both goals, one from a 20-metre free, with Eoin Clarke pointing a '65' and Johnny McGrattan tossing over a free to finish the argument.
The teams were level three times in the first half after which the winners led by 1-7 to 0-8, Stephen Clarke netting the goal in the 20th minute.
The same player was on target again five minutes after the restart to open a 2-8 to 0-10 gap but Keady refused to go away.
The Lamh Dhearg defence battled hard against an experienced Mourne attack but up front the losers made little headway against a solid Ballygalget back line, scoring only two points in the closing 26 minutes.
With four minutes left for play, it was 2-11 to 0-12 before Ballygalget finally polished off their opponents.
BALLYGALGET: Graham Clarke; L Clarke, A Dynes (0-1), C Braniff; S Roddy, Gabriel Clarke, S Johnston; P Monan, D Flynn; B Coulter (0-2), G Flynn (0-1), S Bailie; M Og Coulter (2-1), Steven Clarke (2-3, 0-1 free), Paddy Coulter (0-3). Subs: E Clarke (0-1, a '65') for G Flynn (33), H Savage for C Braniff (35), M Savage for Seamus Bailie (50), J McGrattan (0-1, free) for Shane Bailie (58).
KEADY: C McKee; P Kirk, C McShane, B Breen; B McCormack, E McDonnell, J Breen; F McMullan (0-1), K McGreevy; G Enright (0-3, 0-1 free), P McCormack (0-2, 0-1 free), P Breen (0-6, 0-5 frees); J Corvan, DP O'Neill, F Fullerton. Subs: R Mullan for O'Neill (38), R Digby for J Breen (41), M McDermott for McMullan (44), L McKee for Fullerton (53)
REFEREE: J Devlin (Tyrone).